10 July 2011

When Innocence is Not Enough: Talha Ahsan and the Rise of the (In)Security State

Published in Ceasefire Magazine

Three days ago was the six year anniversary of the London bombings. The anniversary passed relatively quietly – except for the appalling revelation that News of the World journalists had hacked into the phones of relatives of the 7/7 victims. Curiously, Scotland Yard seemed to have known about the hacking long ago, according to Graham Foulkes, whose son David was killed in the attacks. Further revelations that up to five Metropolitan Police officers had received bribes totalling £100,000 from the paper underscored the extent to which police corruption had facilitated the scandal

Ten days from now comes another anniversary – much less well-known, but nevertheless worthy of our attention – the five year anniversary of the detention without trial of a young British Muslim, Talha Ahsan. I first learned about Talha’s case around 2007, when I went to pick up my father and stepmother from their friend’s house in South London. It was late Friday evening, but I’d managed to find parking near the house.

When the front door opened, I was greeted by a mild-mannered elderly gentleman, Mr. Ahsan. He led me upstairs to where my dad was already seated with his wife, and I was offered tea and a delectable assortment of Indian sweets by Mrs. Ahsan. My dad introduced me as an author and mentioned my then-new book, The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (Duckworth, 2006), in which I had challenged the British government’s account of its policies before and after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities. The topic immediately struck the interest of our host, and I quickly learned all about what had happened to their son Talha.

Read the rest at Ceasefire...

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