Wednesday, June 29 2016

Babar Ahmad extradition debate relegated to Westminster Hall despite over 140,000 signatures

  Babar Ahmad is a British citizen who has been detained without charge under Terrorism legislation for over 7 years and is facing extradition to the US. To the dismay of those campaigning for him to be put on trial in the UK, a debate on a e- petition calling for his trial to be held in the UK is to be denied a full parliamentary debate. The move is of grave concern given the great number of signatures amassed on the e-petition urging that Ahmad be put on trial in Britain, over 140,000 to date. 
An Action Alert distributed by the Free Babar Ahmad Campaign states that:
“In spite of the enormous public support for the matter, the Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee has now refused to list this issue for a full debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons where it could be voted on by Members of Parliament; instead the motion has been relegated to form part of a pre-existing discussion on extradition, led by Dominic Raab MP, in Westminster Hall on 24th November 2011.
“Discussions in Westminster Hall are not subjected to a vote and rarely have any practical effect. Other e-petitions which secured 100,000 signatures (including Hillsborough and the EU) have been subjected to a full debate in the House of Commons with a vote rather than being sidelined as a Westminster Hall discussion. It is therefore only fair that the petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK, which over 140,000 people have signed, also be fully debated and voted on.”
The Action Alert states that the reasons given for refusing a debate on the petition are a “lack public support,” an incredulous claim given the number of signatories to the petition, and that “there is not enough time left in this year’s calendar for such a debate.”
According to the Free Babar Ahmad Campaign:
“On 1 November 2011, Mr. Dominic Raab MP, requested a full Commons debate on extradition. His motion had cross-party support in addition to the backing of the respective chairs of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Home Affairs Select Committee. Mr. Raab referred to the fact that at that point, over 70,000 people had also signed the petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK. The Committee rejected Mr. Raab’s request in favour of a request for a debate on cheaper fuel on the basis that over 100,000 people had signed an e-petition calling for it. 

“The same night, Babar’s petition secured over 100,000 votes and has since risen to over 140,000. The petition for cheaper fuel by way of comparison currently stands at 110,000. Nevertheless, that petition will be debated in the main Chamber on 18 November.''

You can show your support calling for a full debate in the parliamentary chamber by writing to your MP, and to the Parliamentary Backbench Committee, raising your concerns at the shameful decision made on the petition regarding Babar Ahmad and urging that it be reversed and parliamentary time allotted to a debate on the crucial issues raised by the e-petition.
You can find out more by visiting

Last Updated on Monday, 28 November 2011 18:49

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