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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


5th March 2015

Talha Ahsan: the power of poetry and the arts in extradition campaigns

Hamja Ahsan, Julian Huppert MP, Kate Honey (Green Party)

Talha Ahsan is a British-born poet, translator and human rights activist who was held for over a year in solitary confinement in a US “supermax” prison, without ever being charged. His poetry, written in response to his 8-year ordeal facing extradition and an unjust justice system, won the Arthur Koestler prize in 2012, and his case has received support from figures including Noam Chomsky, novelist AL Kennedy, Shami Chakrabarti and Caroline Lucas.

His brother, Hamja Ahsan, who was shortlisted for the Liberty Human Rights Award 2013, spoke about his brother’s case and explore the problems with the extradition agreement between the US and UK. He also talked about his brother’s poetry, and how the arts can be used in extradition cases.

Hamja was joined by Julian Huppert MP and Kate Honey of the Green Party for discussion of the political and ethical issues surrounding extradition, and what alternatives can be found for the current system.