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Briton Is Ordered to Be Extradited to U.S.

The man, of Pakistani descent, is accused of using the Internet to aid extreme Islamic groups, including Al Qaeda.

November 17, 2005|From Associated Press

LONDON — British officials Wednesday ordered that a high-profile terrorism suspect, Barbar Ahmad, be extradited to the U.S., where he faces charges of using the Internet to support the Al Qaeda terrorist network and other Islamic extremists.

Ahmad, 31-year-old computer engineer who was arrested by British police in August 2004, would be the first person sent to the U.S. under a controversial 2003 law that allows certain governments, including Washington, to extradite suspects without providing evidence of guilt, according to Gareth Crossman of Liberty, a British human rights organization.

The decision by Charles Clarke, Britain's top law enforcement official, was immediately denounced by Muslim leaders. They argued that any trial for Ahmad, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, should be in Britain. Extraditing him would set a precedent that would anger British Muslims and worsen already frayed relations with the government, they said.

"This man has never set foot in the United States. He has lived in Britain his whole life," said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. "If he has done something wrong, this is where he should be put on trial."

According to a U.S. indictment filed in Connecticut in October 2004, Ahmad used a network of websites to solicit donations for rebels in Chechnya as well as the Taliban militia in Afghanistan. It also alleged that he arranged for training and transportation of Islamic fighters and purchased camouflage suits, gas masks and other equipment for them.

U.S. officials claimed jurisdiction because Ahmad allegedly used Internet service providers in Connecticut and Nevada.

A British judge ruled in May that Ahmad could be extradited to the U.S., but left the decision to Clarke. A statement issued Wednesday by the Home Office said Clarke had "given full consideration to complex representations that have been made on Mr. Ahmad's behalf but is satisfied that the conditions for his extradition have been met."

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