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UK to prosecute four officers in alleged assault of terror suspect

The UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced on Thursday that it will charge four former officers [press release] of the UK Metropolitan Police in the alleged assault of terrorism suspect Babar Ahmad [advocacy website; BBC profile]. Police Constables Nigel Cowley, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen and Mark Jones are accused of beating Ahmad during a 2003 arrest on suspicion of terrorism charges. Ahmad's supporters claim he suffered 73 injuries [AP report] between his arrest at his home and his arrival at a police station in central London. The officers will be charged in violation of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 [text]. The CPS originally chose not to prosecute the officers in 2004 after it found that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the officers, but decided to reconsider the evidence after the UK High Court ruled in favor of Ahmad in a civil action regarding the assault. The four officers are scheduled to appear before the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 22.

Ahmad, a British citizen, has been incarcerated in the UK since his arrest and is currently awaiting a decision on whether he will be extradited to the US where he faces charges [JURIST report] of terrorism, conspiring to kill Americans and running a website used to fund terrorists and recruit al Qaeda members. In July the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of Ahmad, holding that potential punishment could violate Human Rights Convention [text] provisions on the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. The court issued the injunction in order to further examine evidence against Ahmad and determine if the US sentencing standards, which includes life sentencing without parole, would lead to an Article 3 violation. The UK High Court approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Ahmad to the US in 2006 after the US offered assurances that it would not seek the death penalty, try the suspects before military tribunals or declare them enemy combatants.

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