Four British police officers accused of a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack on a British Muslim man of Pakistani descent are to face prosecution.
The high court was told last year that Babar Ahmad, a terrorism suspect, was punched, kicked and stamped on during his arrest by officers from one of the Metropolitan police’s territorial support groups at his London home in December 2003.
The Crown Prosecution Service has now said that four officers would be charged with causing actual bodily harm.
Simon Clements, head of the CPS special crime division, said: “There is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest to charge four of the officers involved in the arrest of Ahmad with causing actual bodily harm to him,” Clements said PCs Nigel Cowley, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen and Mark Jones would appear at City of Westminster magistrates court on 22 September.
Ahmad has welcomed the decision, saying: “I am pleased that the CPS has decided that a jury will hear the evidence in this case and it will now be for the jury to determine whether any police officer should be punished for the assault upon me in December 2003.”
The Met initially denied claims that Ahmad had been assaulted; saying officers had used reasonable force during the arrest. But at a hearing in the high court in March last year police admitted he had been the victim of violence and agreed to pay him 60,000 pounds in damages.
Ahmad said police beat him, grabbed him around the neck, pulled his testicles and mocked his Islamic faith.
He said that after a sustained attack in his home in Tooting, south London, he was forced into the back of a police van, where he was again beaten before being put in a “life-threatening” neck-hold.
An original Met inquiry ruled no officer should be disciplined and no criminal charges were brought. However, after his successful civil proceedings for compensation last year, Ahmad’s solicitor Fiona Murphy submitted a file to the CPS and asked it to examine the evidence again.
The Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees the force’s work, said: “Londoners have the right to expect that if found to have acted improperly, officers will be held to account.”
The Met said that since the events, Donohue had become a detective constable after a transfer. The other three officers are still with the territorial support group.
Ahmad remains in Long Lartin prison after the European court of human rights halted his extradition to the US to face terror charges. The court will decide next year whether a transfer would breach his rights by exposing him to life imprisonment in solitary confinement without parole.