A bid to bring private prosecutions in Britain against two men fighting extradition to the US on terror charges failed yesterday after a judge described it as "an abuse of process."
British businessman Karl Watkin, a campaigner against Britain's extradition arrangements with the US, was seeking to prosecute Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan for solicitation to murder in this country.
Mr Ahmad has been imprisoned without trial for eight years while fighting extradition. Mr Ahsan has been held for six years without charge.
The pair are accused of being involved in a website - operating from London but hosted in the US - which encouraged terrorism.
Earlier this week, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer rejected Mr Watkin's bid to bring legal proceedings against the pair under the Terrorism Act 2000.
And yesterday district judge Howard Riddle, sitting at Westminster magistrates' court, refused the application to challenge that decision.
He said: "The application is made many years after the events complained of.
"It appears to have the co-operation and support of the proposed defendants themselves. It comes as almost all other ways of resisting extradition have been exhausted."
He added that the information provided by Mr Watkin did not provide "the essential ingredients of soliciting to murder" and there was "no direct evidence that either Mr Ahmad or Mr Ahsan solicited murder."
A second case brought by Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan is before the High Court. Lawyers representing the two are challenging the government and DPP's decision not to prosecute them in Britain.
Phillippa Kaufmann QC, appearing for Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan, accused the DPP of reaching an "irrational and unlawful" decision.
Ms Kaufmann told the court that Mr Starmer had "failed to make the inquiries required of him in the particular circumstances of the case."
In particular he had failed to obtain from the Metropolitan Police "all the material they had obtained in the course of their investigations" into the activities of Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan in 2003-2004.
The decision on whether the pair and four other terror suspects - including radical cleric Abu Hamza - have won their last-ditch appeal is expected today.
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