A British national spoke out for the first time after spending nine and a half years in jail without a trial for advocating support for the Taliban and he was released only after pleading guilty to be extradited.
Speaking to Britain national broadcaster BBC, 41-year-old Babar Ahmad said that he was not aware of the true nature of the group when he posted two articles in 1996 and 1997 advocating support for Taliban after his experiences in Bosnia and Kosovo, two countries where their Muslim populations suffered from ethnic cleansing and other severe human rights violations throughout 1990's after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
BBC explained that he was never charged in the U.K., but as his website was hosted in U.S. servers in 2000, making its content subject to U.S. law. He was arrested in London upon a U.S. warrant and his eight-year long battle against his extradition began. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights halted extradition pending appeal, however, in 2012 he was extradited to the U.S.
Ahmad pleaded guilty and was sentenced with 12 years of prison time by U.S. courts for providing support to terrorism in 2014. He was discharged from prison in June 2015 when his 10 years of imprisonment was taken into account.
During his imprisonment, BBC's attempts to interview Ahmad were also blocked. This matter was taken to court and won by the broadcaster in 2012.
Ahmad said that he did not know at the time that al-Qaeda and its deceased leader Osama Bin Laden, whom were protected in Afghanistan by the Taliban regime, were planning the 9/11 attacks.
"I did it in good faith but, in hindsight, I regret doing that and it was naive of me to do that, because it was a complicated situation. And whatever was going on then, I didn't have to advocate support for them," he said.
Admitting that he committed acts of terrorism in the eyes of U.S. law, Ahmad also explained that he pleaded guilty as he had spent 9.5 years in prison without trial, including more than a year of solitary confinement, and he was offered a deal by prosecutors.
"Any person in their right mind would just sign the dotted line, that's exactly what I did. I don't regret pleading guilty, I want to make it clear. I'm not taking that back - it was the best decision of my life, and I'm proud I made that decision," he said, noting that he would have acted differently in the U.K. as he would only face with a year in prison if he was found guilty.
Ahmad also rejected the Daesh terror group and their methods during the interview.
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