London

Officers face charges over an attack on Babar Ahmad

Babar Ahmad being taken to Woodhill Prison
Image caption Babar Ahmad was given £60,000 damages by the Met in March 2009

Four policemen face prosecution over an alleged attack on a terror suspect in south-west London.

Babar Ahmad, 36, an IT worker, alleged he was beaten and verbally abused when arrested in Tooting on 2 December 2003.

Mr Ahmad, who was not charged following the raid, was awarded £60,000 damages last March by the Metropolitan Police.

Pcs Nigel Cowley, 32, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen, 39, and Mark Jones, 43, are due before City of Westminster magistrates next month.

All four officers accused of the attack, in south west London, were members of the Metropolitan Police (Met) Territorial Support Group (TSG) at the time of the alleged assault.

Three of the officers are still with the TSG. But Pc Donohue has since become a detective constable after transferring to the force's special operations wing.

The officers have now been placed on restricted duties. A Met spokesman said: "The restrictions will be kept under review pending the conclusion of legal processes."

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said it had considered bringing charges against a fifth officer but decided not to because there was "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect for conviction".

In a statement, Mr Ahmad said: "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."

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Media captionBabar Ahmad's solicitor Fiona Murphy said she was pleased a jury would hear the evidence

Mr Ahmad's solicitor Fiona Murphy asked Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to confirm if the four officers had been suspended from duty.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the force said it did not underestimate the seriousness of the allegations and had restricted the duties of the four officers.

Head of the CPS special crime division Simon Clements said: "Mr Ahmad suffered a number of injuries during that arrest, including heavy bruising to the head, neck, wrists and feet.

He added: "There is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge four of the officers involved in the arrest of Mr Ahmad with causing actual bodily harm to him."

If the case goes to trial at crown court, the maximum sentence the officers could receive is five years in prison. However, the case could be heard at a magistrates court.

The four policemen are due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 22 September.

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, who has been supporting constituent Mr Ahmad since 2003, said: "I am pleased that the CPS decided to look at this incident again.

"There are serious issues to be examined here surrounding the conduct of the arresting officers.

Image caption Babar Ahmad said he had been beaten and dragged by handcuffs

"It is important that these very serious allegations are properly considered in a criminal court."

A spokesman for the Free Babar Ahmad campaign said he was "pleased" with the decision.

Last year, Mr Ahmad alleged he had had been punched and stamped and that his faith had been mocked.

Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted Mr Ahmad had suffered injuries. But an original inquiry by the force had concluded that no officers would face criminal charges or be disciplined.

'Serious concerns'

The Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees the work of the force, called for a review of Mr Ahmad's case last year.

A spokesman said the findings of an internal review, by retired senior judge Sir Geoffrey Grigson, would be released once legal proceedings concluded.

Mr Ahmad is being held in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire after the European Court of Human Rights halted his extradition to the US to face separate terror charges.

He is accused of raising money to support terrorism in Chechnya and Afghanistan via websites and e-mails.

US investigators claim he was behind the website azzam.com which was a well-known terrorist fundraising website.

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