Slide 1

A Moving Poem by a British Muslim detained for five years without charge


EXTRADITION by Talha Ahsan

Five years ago they brought me to a cell
and ever since a waiting games plays here.
As they decide on sending me away,
my parents grow so grey and sad at home.
How will they manage visiting me there
or must they wait until the end of time?

Ma, hear my oath, by him whose hand is time,
bars stand in worship with me in this cell.
So even if I’m extradited there
and taken from my humble parents here,
then tell them paradise is our true home
whose gardens years will never fade away.

To Florence prison I’ll be sent away
It doesn’t matter what will be my time.
No prison ever can be called my home,
how ever long they put me in a cell.
A higher power occupies me here
who’s  closer to me even over there.

Perhaps they’ll clean their hands of me once there.
And then my country feels I’m wiped away.
Though germs stay always floating from me here:
these particles will gather born in time,
a culture breeding from a tiny cell,
to carry on infecting every home.

Theresa May, a minister at home
though feeble servant to her masters there;
a solitary torture chamber cell,
To put me in, she’ll simply say, ‘Away!’
So let me while I can devote my time
to work for my own justice over here.

I pitch a tent for battle waiting here.
And in this heart of mine you’ll find a home,
free from the crumbling effects of time
or any rotting thoughts of being there.
It is a sin for me to run away
As patience brings my glory to this cell.

For time will be a brief sojourning here,
and there, or anywhere I make a home -
Away! A caravan escapes my cell.

(C) Talha Ahsan, HMP Long Lartin, 19 July 2011


To find out more about Talha Ahsan visit the FREE TALHA AHSAN website


This Be the Answer: Poems from Prison available online at the IHRC bookshop and online.
Talha Ahsan graduated with first class Honours in Arabic, from SOAS, University of London. He is a sufferer of Asperger’s syndrome. He was arrested in his home on 16th July 2006 with a provisional warrant under the Extradition Act 2003 alleging offences in America, although he has never entered the US.
His moving poetry echoes his 5 years imprisonment without trial, and now his relentless battle to be saved from Extradition to the U.S. It reflects his relationship with life, spirituality and politics.
‘He is not some crazed fanatic as portrayed in the media but a quiet, gentle and educated man.’
‘His poetry expresses a passion and commitment to peace.’ Aamer Anwar, Criminal Defence Lawyer.
‘If the evidence is available here in the UK, why not prosecute him in this country for promoting terrorism abroad?
‘Talha Ahsan’s poems are the songs of a caged bird. Read them and enjoy them. But if that is all that you do, you will be a thief. The caged bird’s song has this price: that you accept the obligation to do whatever you can to set the bird free.’ Richard Hayley, Chair of SACC, January 2011.
You can also write to Talha to show your support at the following address:
Syed Talha Ahsan A9438AG
Detainee Unit
HMP Long Lartin
South Littleton
Evesham
WR11 8TZ