British peer suspended over Obama bounty

2008 file photo British Labour peer Lord Nazir Ahmed. Photo / AP
2008 file photo British Labour peer Lord Nazir Ahmed. Photo / AP

Britain's Labour Party on Sunday suspended peer Nazir Ahmed over reports that he offered a £10 million ($19m NZD) bounty for the capture of US President Barack Obama.

The Lord also offered a similar incentive for the capture of former US president George Bush in response to a US reward for the capture of suspected terrorist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, according to Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper.

Saeed, who founded the extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, is wanted for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed.

"We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation," a Labour spokeswoman said.

"If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable.

"The international community is rightly doing all in its power to seek justice for the victims of the Mumbai bombings and halt terrorism."

Ahmed apparently made the offer during a speech in Haripur, Pakistan, on Friday.

The peer, who was appointed to the House of Lords in 1998, called the US reward "an insult to all Muslims", according to the Pakistani news report.

"If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the capture of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush," he is reported to have said.

Ahmed denied the comments but spoke out against Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I did not offer a bounty. I said that there have been war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and those people who have got strong allegations against them - George W Bush and Tony Blair have been involved in illegal wars and should be brought to justice," he said from Pakistan.

"If the Labour Party want to suspend me I will deal with the Labour Party. They will have to give me some evidence," he added.

- AFP

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