‘ELEVEN years of solitary confinement and isolation in ten different prisons has been an experience too profound to sum up in a few words here and now,’ Babar Ahmad said on Sunday.
In his first statement following his release from his 12-year prison sentence in America last week, British citizen Ahmad continued: ‘In October 2012, I was blindfolded, shackled and forcibly stripped naked when I was extradited to the US.
‘Last week, US and UK government officials treated me with courtesy and respect during my journey home. Today, I have absolutely nothing. Yet I am rich. All praise be to God. In time, I look forward to sharing reflections on my experience to help inform others.
‘I recognise that the world has moved on since 2004, yet in some ways, sadly it has failed to progress. For now, I intend to reconnect privately with my incredible family, to whom I owe so much. It was a great joy to celebrate Eid with them for the first time in 11 years and to hug three of my nieces and nephews whom I had never met before. It has been a long time.’
Ahmed was awarded £60,000 in March 2009 as compensation for having been physically abused by Metropolitan police officers at the time of his initial arrest in December 2003. He was arrested again in 2004 pending extradition and held in jails in Britain until his extradition to America in October 2012,
He was jailed in the US in December 2012 over a website he created, having fought an eight-year-campaign against extradition.
British authorities never charged him, but he later pleaded guilty in the US to providing material support to terrorism through his site. His July 2014 sentence of just over 12 years took into account his time spent in jail in the UK prior to extradition.
US prosecutors had sought a far longer term, but the sentencing judge said she could not ignore glowing references in Ahmad’s favour.