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Terror suspect Babar Ahmad 'taunted over God' by police

image captionBabar Ahmad was arrested in a dawn raid on his home in south London in 2003

A terrorist suspect was forced into a praying position and asked "where is your God now?" during arrest at his south London home, a court has heard.

Four Metropolitan Police officers allegedly beat up and mocked Babar Ahmad in a raid in Tooting in 2003.

The atmosphere was "very intimidating", Mr Ahmad told Southwark Crown Court .

Pc Nigel Cowley, 34, Det Con John Donohue, 37, Pc Roderick James-Bowen, 40, and Pc Mark Jones, 43, all deny assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Police smashed their way into Mr Ahmad's semi-detached property in Fountain Road, Tooting, at about 0500 on 2 December 2003.

'Completely compliant'

Mr Ahmad, 37, told the court: "Initially I was in shock, confusion and panic. I didn't know what had happened, I didn't have the foggiest idea.

"When I saw the police I felt somewhat reassured. I thought 'it's the police, it's only the police, it's not a car crash or a robber'."

Mr Ahmad said officers in full riot gear ran up the stairs and despite him standing passively with his hands up he was thrown head first into a window.

The officers then beat him while shouting "vulgar abuse and language", he told the jury.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, asked the witness if he had fought or struggled.

Mr Ahmad replied: "I was completely compliant because I had made my mind up when they came towards me I was going to co-operate and reassure them they had nothing to fear from me whatsoever."

He added: "At no point did I struggle or make it difficult for them. At no point did I say anything to them other than 'can you stop hitting me?'. I didn't make it hard for them or provoke them whatsoever."

'Screaming in pain'

Mr Ahmad said his wife Uzma Qureshi was removed from the bedroom and the assault continued.

He said he was handcuffed with his arms behind his back and read his rights before the cuffs were loosened and repeatedly pulled up his arms.

"I started screaming in pain. It was extremely painful. The metal went straight down the bone. It was like someone held a flame to my wrists," he told the court.

Mr Ahmad said officers stamped on his bare feet with their steel toe-capped boots and kneed his right thigh before he was taken downstairs to his prayer room.

The witness told the court that officers touched his "private parts" when he was put in a praying position and mocked his faith.

He said: "One of the officers said 'you are in prayer now'. All the others began to laugh and it was like they were laughing at me.

"One said 'where is your God now?'. And another said 'pray to him'.

"After that, the officers were laughing and I can't remember details of what was said but it was a very intimidating atmosphere.

"I had just been beaten and I was on the floor and they were laughing and there were jibes."

Extradition fight

The suspect was under surveillance by MI5 at the time of the raid, and a recording was played to the jury but the contents were largely inaudible.

Mr Laidlaw has told jurors that delays in the trial - which has started more than seven years after the alleged assault - were caused by internal investigations, obtaining medical opinions and case reviews.

The four accused officers were at the time part of the Territorial Support Group, which assisted the Anti-Terrorist Branch in the raid.

Mr Ahmad, who was suspected to be a jihadist with training as a terrorist, was released without charge after six days.

He is currently in custody awaiting extradition to the US for alleged terrorism offences. He has been fighting that decision since 2004.

The jury has been told that the British courts had granted the extradition, but Mr Ahmad appealed and the case has not yet been resolved.

Mr Ahmad will be cross examined on Monday.

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