Gary McKinnon vs Talha Ahsan: do we only extradite Muslims with Asperger's?
The Home Secretary has effectively told the US State Department that British citizenship still means something: our liberal democracy and traditions of jurisprudence are founded upon centuries of hard-won rights and precious liberties, and these are still enforceable. If we should not surrender these to the European Union, His Grace is at a loss to know why we have done so to the United States.
Gary McKinnon has rights, and those rights will now be heeded.
But it is a curious citizenship which treats diverse ethno-religious groups differently. Mr McKinnon is ill with Asperger’s, and this fact was instrumental in persuading the Home Secretary to refuse the extradition request. But Syed Talha Ahsan also suffers from Asperger's, and is also accused of computer-related crimes - in his case helping to run a jihadi website in support of the Taliban.
Yet Mr Ahsan was extradited to the US on 5th October, despite no evidence having ever been adduced against him. He spent six years (yes, six) in a maximum security prison: no Habeas Corpus; no trial by jury. The Home Affairs Select Committee expressed grave concern at this manifest injustice, and Mayor Boris supported his right to be tried in the UK.
But, Asperger's or not, Mr Ahsan today languishes in a US prison, facing trial in a US court, while Mr McKinnon is free to be tried in an English court of law. Mr Ashan's MP is not making speeches in the House of Commons in support of his constituent. The Daily Mail is not dedicating a stream of articles to his cause.
Is it 'cos he is Muslim?