x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE extradites first suspect to UK

In the first such extradition, a Dubai resident accused of murder is flown back to the UK to face charges.

ABU DHABI // In the first case of a suspect being extradited from the UAE to Britain, a Dubai resident accused of stabbing a man to death in Birmingham three years ago has been flown back to the UK to face charges. The countries ratified a reciprocal extradition treaty last year. The UAE has signed a number of such agreements with other countries in recent years as it seeks to make it more difficult for foreign criminals to find refuge here.

Jeleel Ahmed, 27, a British national, arrived in London on Thursday where he was immediately charged with murder, West Midlands Police confirmed yesterday. "The man was successfully extradited from the United Arab Emirates, landing at Heathrow Airport on Thursday August 20. This is the first time somebody has been extradited to the UK from the UAE," they said. Mr Ahmed is accused of being part of a gang of hooded youths who attacked and killed Shanwaz Ali, 23, outside his home in Birmingham in January 2006.

Mr Ali, a British national of Pakistani origin, was repeatedly stabbed after getting out of his car outside his home in the early hours of the morning. His father, a prominent activist for the UK's Labour Party, found him slumped in a pool of blood, before rushing him to hospital where he died. Mr Ahmed was arrested and questioned during initial investigations, but released due to a lack of evidence and left the country shortly after, said Detective Inspector Steve Bimson, who travelled to the UAE last week to finalise the extradition.

"We are now confident that further evidence linking him to the murder is available, that wasn't at the time," Det Insp Bimson said. "That's why we started looking for him again." Mr Ahmed travelled to Dubai shortly after being questioned in connection with the murder. He was working in a "steady job" in the city and living under his real name, Det Insp Bimson said. He was arrested shortly after the British government requested his extradition in late 2008, after being tracked down by Dubai Police. He remained in prison in the UAE until he was flown back to Britain last week.

In 2007, two other suspects, Mohammed Shakil and Muddassir Zaman, were sentenced to life in prison by a British court for the murder. The motive of the attack remains unclear, but police believe Mr Ahmed may have been involved in a dispute with Mr Zaman over compensation for a car accident. The victim, stabbed only days after his 23rd birthday, suffered from muscular dystrophy, which made it difficult for him to walk.

Mr Ahmed has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on September 17. The British government has launched a high-profile campaign to tackle knife crime in its largest cities, but has failed to significantly reduce the number of fatal stabbings. The treaty ratified by the UAE and Britain stipulates that a wanted person may be extradited to either country "if the conduct on which the offence is based is punishable under the laws of both parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of at least one year". However, Britain declines to extradite those that may face the death penalty unless assurances are given that it will not be imposed.

lmorris@thenational.ae