British police cleared of assaulting terror suspect

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Four British police officers were cleared by a jury Friday of beating up a Muslim man, who is wanted for extradition by the United States, during his arrest on suspicion of terrorism offences.

Constables Roderick James-Bowen, Mark Jones, Nigel Cowley, and John Donohue were acquitted of claims that they assaulted Babar Ahmad in south London in December 2003, and mocked his Islamic faith.

The acquittals come despite the fact that London's Metropolitan Police has already paid out 60,000 pounds (73,000 euros, 93,000 dollars) in compensation to Ahmad, now aged 37, following civil court action in 2009.

The police officers' lawyer, Colin Reynolds, said the trial heard that a listening device which was placed inside Ahmad's house by British intelligence services ahead of his arrest showed up flaws in his account.

"Many hours were spent analysing what could be heard as a result of that probe before and during the trial and that evidence proved the account originally given by these officers was correct and specific details of the complaint made by Mr Ahmad were not present," Reynolds said outside court.

During the trial Ahmad admitted travelling to Bosnia three or four times to fight during the 1990s but insisted he was not an "Al-Qaeda superman".

Babar remains in jail in Britain where he has spent seven years without charge fighting extradition to the United States to face charges of running websites to raise money for terrorism.

He was released six days after his 2003 arrest on suspicion of leading a group which provided Al-Qaeda with computer and financial support. But British police detained him again in 2004 on the US warrant.

© 2011 AFP

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