Pakistan Times : Detained student decides to leave Britain voluntarily

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Detained student decides to leave Britain voluntarily

'Pakistan Times' UK Bureau | May 31, 2009

LONDON (UK): Accepting the offer from the British Home Secretary to leave the UK voluntarily on the condition that the deportation order against him is withdrawn, a detained Pakistani student Tariq-ur-Rehman is likely to return home next week.

His lawyer Amjad Malik said on Saturday that he would meeting with the concerned British officials on Monday to finalise the arrangements whereby Tariq is flown home by Wednesday from Manchester where is currently detained.

“The British authorities have offered him a one way ticket to Pakistan and there are some other legal matters that would come under discussion at the meeting,” Malik said. The Miran Shah-based student has decided to accept the offer to leave the UK of his own volition in view of the family matters and can no longer afford to remain under detention, he said.

“Rahman has lost his mother and wife and has five children to look after therefore he has decided to accept the Home Secretary offer.”

Meanwhile, an independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Alex Carlyle has met three Pakistani students Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan and Tariq Ur Rehman in appeal before Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Lord Carlyle, who is a member of British Parliament Upper House reports on terrorism legislation as a monitor to improve its operation and is currently reviewing Operation Pathway conducted between April 8 to 21 that led to the arrest of 12 persons including 10 Pakistani students on terror charges which were subsequent dropped due to lack of evidence.

All students raised high handedness of Liverpool police who used armed response unit to arrest them during which few students sustained injuries and bruises, said lawyer Malik. According to him, they raised issues on their treatment and and questioned the wisdom as to why they are being deported when no charges were made.

Lord Carlyle earlier had a detailed meeting with Malik at his Rochdale Chamber who briefed him about students plight and their concerns. Malik also highlighted the legal lacuna that all detained under terrorism legislation must be afforded an opportunity to make a bail application after 7 days of their arrest.

Both Malik and Lord Carlyle also met Prison Governor Richard Vince and were assured that as these detainees are not criminals facing trial, they are being provided best facilities as possible including prayer time, 3 free times, halal food and leisure and training facilities.

Lord Carlyle assured the lawyer and the detainees that he will raise all these issues in his independent report and also will contact higher officials to relax some conditions regarding books and telephone access to their families forthwith.

Telegraph : Taliban target Britain on 'orders' from al-Qaeda

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taliban target Britain on 'orders' from al-Qaeda

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | May 30, 2009

A Taliban-trained terrorist was part of a cell sent to bomb Britain as revenge for their presence in Afghanistan, it has emerged.

The terrorist informant has told prosecutors he was trained by Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, and was planning a series of suicide attacks with 11 other men.

The informant, known as "Ahmed", told investigators the bombers were to work in pairs using a "device carried in a backpack with a third person to detonate a remote control" in order to ensure the bombers went through with their mission.

Details of the attempted attacks emerged in papers submitted to the Spanish authorities in a case against the alleged bombers, who were arrested in raids in the Raval district of Barcelona in January last year.

It is claimed the attacks were to begin on the Barcelona underground system and then spread to the other European countries with a presence in Afghanistan, thought to include Britain, according to new documents.

The information echoed claims made by British security services that a terrorist cell was sent to Manchester from the Taliban heartland in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

British investigators believe that the cell, which was allegedly planning attacks on the Trafford and Arndale shopping centres over the Easter holidays, had connections with al-Qaeda, and Spanish prosecutors say their cell may also have had links with al-Qaeda.

The terrorist group is believed to have formed a "holy alliance" with the Taliban to launch terrorist attacks on foreign soil.

Instead of relying on British-born men travelling to Pakistan for training, al-Qaeda is now recruiting "ready made" terrorists from among the Taliban, investigators believe.

The 10 men arrested in the north west are fighting deportation on national security grounds after Government lawyers accused them of being members of a "UK-based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning".

Spanish police found chemicals including nitrocellulose and potassium perchlorate along with batteries, timers and cables in the raids.

They also found "materials for indoctrination" relating to attacks against Nato forces in Afghanistan and books and DVDs.

Spanish prosecutors submitted documents laying out their case earlier this month and Dolores Delgado Garcia, a prosecutor at Spain's National Court, told the Daily Telegraph she believed the Barcelona cell was inspired by speeches by Osama bin Laden about the "loss of Andalucia" once part of the Muslim Ottoman empire.

"Al-Qaeda has been targeting Spain because of its historic associations with Andalucia," she said. "But other cities in Europe where countries have troops in Afghanistan were also targets."

Explaining her case at a top-level conference organised by New York University's Centre for Law and Security, she said "Ahmed" had become a "protected witness" and had told them that "Baitullah Mehsud would make demands and when they were not complied with, they would launch their attacks".

Ahmed told them he had trained at a terrorist camp in Waziristan, in Pakistan's tribal areas, and met Mehsud.

The men allegedly arrived in Spain via Germany using false travel documents.

Ahmed, a member of the fundamentalist group Tablighi Jamaat which is popular in the tribal areas, had second thoughts about launching a suicide attack when he was among those told to call his family and "say goodbye".

He is said to have refused to participate and contacted French intelligence, who in turn got in touch with the Spanish.

They have named Maroof Ahmed Mirza, 40, an imam at a mosque in Raval, as the leader of the cell along with Elia Mohammad Ayud Bibi, 64, while three others, Afees Ahmed, Qadeer Malik and Iqbal Sabih, were allegedly the bomb-makers.

The suicide bombers are said to have included Mohammed Shoaib, Mehmooh Khalid, Imran Cheema and ur-Rehman Aqeel Khalid.

Their other targets are said to have included Germany, France and Portugal.

Muslim News : Apologise for terror arrests Labour MP tells Govt

Friday, May 29, 2009

Apologise for terror arrests Labour MP tells Govt

By Elham Asaad Buaras and Ahmed J Versi | May 29, 2009

Labour MP for Glasgow Central, Mohammad Sarwar, has asked the Government to apologise for its part in the recent high-profile arrests of innocent Muslim students under anti-terror laws on April 8. The case against 12 men involved in what Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, called a “major terrorist plot” amounted to no more than an email and a few telephone conversations, it emerged; all the men were subsequently released without charge on April 22.

Eleven Pakistani students and one British man were freed after extensive searches of 14 properties in north-west England failed to locate any evidence of terrorist activity.
However, nine of the men are due to be deported after being handed over to the UK Border Agency. A spokesman for 10 Downing Street said, “We are seeking to remove these individuals on grounds of national security. Where a foreign national poses a threat to the country we will seek to exclude or deport them where appropriate.”

Sarwar, who issued an Early Day Motion on the subject, urged the Government to apologise over the arrests. He told The Muslim News, “High profile arrests give a bad name to not only those who were arrested but to the whole Pakistani community as well. There is no evidence that they were involved in any terrorist activities. The Government should do the right thing and apologise to the young people who were arrested.” “What has disturbed me in this case is that after they were released without charge, they were handed over to the UK Borders Agency so that they can be deported to Pakistan. This is an unfair treatment to these young people. People and political leaders in Pakistan are very angry and very unhappy with the whole scenario and feel very strongly that they are marginalised and given a bad name,” said Sarwar
Lawyers say the deportation orders are based on their clients being involved in extremist activity and therefore their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good on the grounds of National Security. Lawyers are calling for an independent inquiry into Operation Pathway.

Councillor Afzal Khan who was briefed by the police shortly before the release of the Pakistani nationals, told The Muslim News he was “deeply concerned” by the arrests and the way the arrests were made. “Too many times the police are getting wrong. This affects public confidence in the police and adversely affecting intercommunity relationships. So it is vital for an independent inquiry into the arrests so that lessons are learnt,” said Khan, in whose area some of the suspects were arrested.
Muslim Council of Britain spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, said the Prime Minister’s comments on the arrests had been prejudicial and premature. “These arrests took place in very dramatic circumstances with students being pulled from universities and thrown to the floor. Instead of releasing them with good grace and making clear a mistake has been made the Government is seeking to deport them citing a very vague national security threat.”

The operation was launched after the interception of telephone calls and emails which pointed towards a bombing campaign by al-Qa’ida. A senior Pakistani official said the British authorities had failed to consult them before carrying out the arrests and greater co-operation would have avoided “embarrassing mistakes” for the British Government.

Mohammed Ayub, lawyer of three of the young men wrongfully arrested, told The Muslim News his clients who were arrested with “no evidence of any wrongdoing” and in “a blaze of publicity” deserve to have their name cleared “by a similar amount of publicity”.
He added, “Our clients have no criminal history, they were here lawfully on student visas and all were pursuing their studies and working part-time.

“Their arrest and detention has been a very serious breach of their human rights. Now, adding insult to injury, attempts are being made to deport them. We intend to challenge the deportation orders and, if necessary, will take our fight to the highest courts.”
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, in charge of the raids for Greater Manchester Police, said, “The operations the GMP and North West Counter Terrorism Unit carry out have one objective to protect the public. They are not targeted at any particular groups or communities.”

However, Amjad Malik, representing three of the men arrested told The Muslim News the threat of deportation was nothing more than a face saving exercise based on “stereotyping and Islamophobia”.

“That allegation of involving ‘Islamic extremist activity’ is vague and too farfetched and requires a definition by courts as to what is classed as ‘extremist activity’ as to some reading prayer, fasting, keeping a beard, going on Blogs, sharing flat, arranging meals could be an Islamic extremist activity…to the appellants it’s stereotyping and Islamophobia.”

He added that had there been “any extreme element of suspicion and evidence, they would have been charged and brought before a court of law to face trial. However, using immigration process seems an ‘eye wash’ to divert attention from their ‘innocence’ and claims of ‘foiling a big terrorist plot’.”

Labour MP for Glasgow Central Mohammad Sarwar and Perry Bar MP Khalid Mahmood warned the government against removing the men whom it has failed to charge.

In a letter to Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, the MPs said the raids and deportation would inflict “irreparable damage” to race relations. Efforts to win the “hearts and minds” of British Muslims had been undermined by the raids, they said.

The British Government has rejected the appeal, suggesting that all had been freed only because of a lack of evidence. “The reason we are taking deportation action is that we considered that there is sufficient evidence to believe the particular individuals concerned represent a threat to the national security of this country but against whom we’ve been advised that we can’t bring charges,” Smith said.

“We are able to seek deportation as the criteria we must meet are set at a lower threshold than those in a prosecution,” she said in a copy of the letter to Sarwar obtained by The Muslim News. The arrests were made on “credible intelligence to suggest there was an imminent threat,” she insisted.

The MPs said they had been urged to intervene by members of the Pakistani community. The decision to seek their deportation also provoked a diplomatic row with Pakistan, highlighted when President Asif Ali Zardari pulled out of a joint press conference with Brown during a visit to Islamabad at the end of April.

The students are appealing against their deportation orders to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, the country’s most secret court that was established after the Government lost a case at the European Human Rights Court in 1996.

On May 14, the court refused bail on the basis that they are deemed “high risk” to national security as submitted by the Secretary of State. The next hearing is on July 27. The whole arrests saga is currently being separately investigated by the Government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, whose findings are due in the next few weeks.

Asian News : Terror arrest student going home

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terror arrest student going home

May 23, 2009

ONE of the Manchester students who were arrested after a series of terror raids has agreed to go back to Pakistan.

Tariq Ur Rehman has accepted deportation saying he could not handle the stress of being locked up in a category A prison.

He is amongst 10 students who are currently being detained and threatened with deportation despite not being charged during police raids last month where 12 people where arrested in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire under the terror act.

The students were released without charge but then handed over to UK Borders Agency for deportation.

Four of the students were kept at Strangeways and three have now been moved to high security prison Belmarsh - the home of Britain's toughest criminals and often described as Hellmarsh.

Said campaigner Tariq Mehmood who helped set up Justice for the North West Ten following their imprisonment: "It is understandable why someone should wish to leave a country that wants to incarcerate him as a top security prisoner without charge, without knowing when he will be released, without having the chance to talk to any of his loved ones, but what does it say of the system that is doing this?

"It is outrageous that young men who came here to study or anyone else for that matter should be forced into this choice. We must act together to get justice for Tariq Ur Rahman and all the others in his situation."

Parents of four of the students have also written a letter to PM Gordon Brown condemning the arrests and the following imprisonment.

In the letter they say: "Our children are still being punished for crimes that they never committed...We are a poor people and some of the parents have arranged loans for their kids to send them abroad for education," and have asked for their immediate release.

Since the arrests there have been many high profile meetings in Manchester condemning the terror raids and what campaigners have said to be "criminalisation of the Muslim community."

Councillor Afzal Khan from Cheetham, who met up with some of the parents of the detained students during a recent trip in Pakistan spoke of his visit at a public meeting at Saffron Restaurant in Cheetham Hill.

Said Mr Khan: "Some of these parents are very old and come from remote areas in Pakistan and don't fully understand what's going on.

"As far as they are concerned they have spent their life savings to send their sons to the UK for study and now they are being detained despite not being charged with anything.

"They are obviously worried. One parent told me that his son had never been in trouble in his life and he just couldn't understand why an innocent man was locked up in prison.

"They don't have any news and have not heard from their sons and have been kept in the dark by the authorities. They are also worried about the future of their sons and these arrest have basically put the students and their families in turmoil."

A petition, collected by Muslim Labour councillors and candidates in the city with over 4,000 signatures mainly from residents in Longsight and Cheetham asking for the release of the students, has been sent to the Home Secretary.

Added Mr Khan: "The huge number of people that have signed the petition goes to show the overwhelming support for these students.

"The local community feel very strongly about their detention and feel they should be set free."

TeleText : Terror raid student 'trapped'

Monday, May 18, 2009

Terror raid student 'trapped'

May 18, 2009‎

A student detained pending deportation after being arrested in the North West but not charged over a suspected terror plot is trapped, his lawyer said.

Tariq ur Rihman was among 12 people held in police raids in April in Lancs, Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

Rihman's solicitor Amjad Malik said his client is not coping well after being moved between high security prisons.

The Nation : Pak HC goes thru humiliating search

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pak HC goes thru humiliating search

By Asif Mehmood | May 17, 2009

LONDON-Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hassan had to go through a painful process during his meeting with Pakistani students at UK high security Belmarsh prison on Saturday, entirely unlike what his counterpart enjoys in Pakistan, The Nation has learnt.

High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hassan went to see the Pakistani students Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan and Tariqur Rehman on reports that one of them was seriously disturbed during detention at notorious category A prison Berlmarsh and wanted to go back to Pakistan.

While talking to The Nation, he confirmed that he had to go through the same process what one goes through at the airport.

According to a source, he may have been reportedly photographed, fingerprinted and physically searched by taking off his shoes, belt and jacket before entering category A to see his country’s citizens.

According to a source, the same process was applied to lawyers and Consul Generals of Pakistan Masroor Junejo and Chaudhry Arif Mehmood at Manchester and Milton Keynes on their visits to prison on April 28, 2009 but Pakistani authorities did not raise any voice against it.

The humiliation with Pakistani diplomats is the violation of 1964 Vienna Convention and Counsellor Relations against the diplomatic norms.

Daily Express : One In 14 Terror Suspects Convicted

Sunday, May 17, 2009

ONE IN 14 TERROR SUSPECTS CONVICTED

By Gabriel Milland | May 14, 2009

JUST one in 14 people arrested for alleged terror offences is convicted, official figures showed yesterday.

Government data showed that less than a third of those arrested are even charged with a terror-related offence.

The figures are a major embarrassment to ministers who fought a long battle to increase the time terror suspects can be held without charge. Currently, suspects can be held for up to 42 days.

They also come just weeks after raids on a supposed major terror plot in Liverpool and Manchester resulted in no one being charged.

Shadow security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said courts should get the right to use phone-tap intelligence as evidence. She said: “The Government needs to allow intercept evidence in court so real terrorists don’t get let off for lack of admissable evidence.”

The figures showed almost 230 people are arrested for ­terrorism offences every year. Between September 11 2001, and March 31 2008, there were 1,471 arrests for terrorism. Of these, 521 resulted in a charge, with 222 people charged with terror offences, and 118 charged with terror-related offences.

Of the 340 people charged in relation to terrorism, 196 were eventually convicted – 102 for terrorism offences and 94 for terrorism-related offences.

So of 1,471 arrests, 102 were convicted under terror laws.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said it was “worrying” that “the overwhelming majority” of those arrested were not guilty of any charge.

Daily Times : Pak students shifted to hardened criminals’ cell in UK

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pak students shifted to hardened criminals’ cell in UK

daily times monitor | Saturday, May 16, 2009

LAHORE: Three Pakistani students arrested in the UK have been shifted to the hardened criminals’ cell in the jail, Dunya News reported on Friday. The men were among a group of 12 picked up in a highly publicised counter-terrorism operation across northern England earlier this month. The channel quoted the British interior secretary as saying that the investigation was under progress against the students, Tariq Rehman, Abdul Wahab and Shoaib Khan.

APP : Lawyer attack denial of bail to four Pak students

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lawyer attack denial of bail to four Pak students

May 14, 2009

LONDON, May 14 (APP)- Lawyer representing four of the ten Pakistan students facing deportation after they were arrested in anti-terror raids has spoken against the denial of bail to his clients.

Rochdale based lawyer Amjad Malik for four of them said his clients were shocked at the decision as they are eager to carry on with their studies.

Their application for bail was turned down by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Barrister Malik said; “The CPS found no shred of evidence against these men yet they are being treated like criminals by being detained at a high security prison as Category A detainees.

“These men who have never been in trouble with the law are now having to roam around with murderers and rapists. We were told the Home Secretary is convinced that there is concern they may abscond or that they will carry on with ‘Islamist extremist’ activities”, he said.

Barrister Amjad Malik went on to say; “We want to now what constitutes as Islamist activities. Is it because they wear beards, go to mosque and read their prayers and because they have other Muslim friends who they meet up with and socialise with as do many people in the UK?

“The clients are really upset about the decision as one of my clients has missed a major exam and another client has an exam coming up.

“All they wanted was to be able to carry on with their studies as their families in Pakistan have paid thousands of pounds to send their sons to the UK for decent education.”

The students were amongst 12 who were recently arrested in north west England as terrorist suspects but subsequently released without charge.

They are now facing deportation by order of the Home Secretary, which ten of them are appealing. The next hearing will take place on July 27.

Telegraph : Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | May 13, 2009

Ten Pakistani men released without charge after an investigation into an alleged plot to bomb shopping centres in Manchester were part of an al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain and should be deported, a tribunal has heard.

The men were arrested on April 8 after former Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick entered Downing Street with details of the operation against the men visible under his arm.

None of the men were charged with any crime but the government launched an attempt to have the men deported. ?THIS OK? [sic!]

Their lawyers are objecting to the deportation orders, arguing that they should be freed to continue their studies.

Robin Tam QC for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London: "All the applicants were members of a UK based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning.

"Each therefore poses a risk to national security and deportation would be considered in the national good."

Mr Tam said there was a "high risk they would re-engage in their former activity to the detriment of national security" and there was a risk they would abscond if granted bail.

All the group were "young single men with no close family ties to the UK and each claims to have been a student", Mr Tam added.

Three of the men, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, waived their rights to anonymity at the hearing.

The SIAC panel considered evidence behind closed doors before refusing bail for the three named men, along with a fourth, "XC."

Sibghat Kadri QC for Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, said the Pakistani High Commissioner in London had claimed the operation against the men was a "hoax" and added: "Other than what he was told upon arrest, that he was suspected to be a terrorist, he has never been informed of the substance of any allegations against him.

"During various interviews he was subjected to intensive interrogation. He was asked mostly about his association with friends, going to the mosque, meeting various friends and taking photographs."

He added that despite the police seizing computers, a TV and clothing which were subjected to forensic examination, "not a shred of evidence was found."

He added: "This case does not involve the liberty of the applicant but the wider question of trust that the community can repose in the security services in a multi-racial society and the subsequent faith in the Secretary of State to make a decision based on justice rather than fear of political failure."

Dawn : Al Qaeda trying to establish links with jihadi groups

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Al Qaeda trying to establish links with jihadi groups

By Our Special Correspondent | May 13, 2009

LONDON: Al Qaeda is trying to establish links inside Pakistan with jihadi groups, rather than Taliban, to exploit the current instability in the country and also to relieve some of the pressure that has been put on them by continuing strikes by the US drones, says The Guardian correspondent Jason Burke in a report (Al Qaeda’s push into Pakistan) on Tuesday.

Quoting sources inside intelligence agencies but without naming them he said that the group led by several dozen senior militants from Central Asia had already set up links with Lashkar-i-Taiba and was now probing others like Jaish-i-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen Islami and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.

For international militants, he said, Pakistan had a particular significance as the birthplace of the new wave of modern Islamic militancy in the 1980s during the war against the Soviets.

‘The battle against Pakistan’s secular elected government – and thus indirectly against its western backers – is being cast as the continuation of the successful struggle against the Soviets,’ he added.

According to Mr Burke, the militants have little chance of actually taking power as Islamists remain on the fringe in Pakistan, ‘and the Pakistani Taliban are a fringe of that fringe’.

‘But inserting themselves onto the home-grown campaign of local jihadis can boost al Qaeda’s flagging jihadi credentials after the failure to create a new base in Iraq or to repeat a 9/11-scale spectacular. It might also provide some breathing space for regrouping and rethinking: planning for a major strike in the West continues.’

In the meantime, according to Mr Burke, al Qaeda strategists see no harm in getting involved in someone else’s local war. ‘After all, it has worked for them before.’ As for al Qaeda contacts with the Pakistani Taliban itself, Mr Burke says quoting sources in Islamabad and Kabul, these are personal rather than organisational, much as many would like to paint the latter organisation as an offshoot of the former.

‘During recent fighting in Bajaur, senior Pakistani officers repeatedly insisted that the local villagers had been led astray by shadowy international militants,’ the correspondent said.

He said there were indeed a few senior figures moving through Bajaur but the main dynamics behind the fighting had little to do with al Qaeda and a lot to do with disintegration of local tribal social hierarchies and values in recent decades, the radicalising effect of western operations in Afghanistan, generalised mobilisation in much of the Islamic world, collateral damage resulting from US drone strikes and a very local dynamic pitting one valley and one tribe against another.

He said the prisoners that he interviewed confirmed that the conflict was essentially a local one, though sometimes framed by participants within a global narrative.

‘The Mohmands, more commercially minded, more radical, more mobile and with a history of militancy and criminal involvement, were never likely to be on the same side as the Salarzai, their more agricultural, more stable, more sedentary and government loyal neighbours. Similar local dynamics are the determining factors behind the violence in Swat as much as new radicalism, new opportunities for young men denied status, authority and employment and of course radical propaganda.’

‘So, as they have done elsewhere for a decade or more, al Qaeda’s leadership are trying to exploit this and to graft their international campaign aimed at sapping regimes in their home countries — including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Maghreb — onto local campaigns, through striking at the west and its allies.’

‘The same thing happened in Iraq, leading to an intensity of violence in 2006 and 2007 which few had predicted. The end only came for al Qaeda’s Iraq adventure when Iraqis themselves sickened of the atrocities perpetrated by outsiders coming into their country — just as young foreign militants are reported to be moving to Pakistan — and turned against them. Agencies have tracked the movement of active extremist fighters from Iraq to the new theatre: AfPak.’

Times : Ten arrested in anti-terrorism raids 'linked to al-Qaeda planning'

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ten arrested in anti-terrorism raids 'linked to al-Qaeda planning'

Fran Yeoman | May 13, 2009

The men arrested during anti-terror raids across the North West last month included members of a British-based network linked to al-Qaeda attack planning, an immigration hearing was told yesterday.

All 12 of those who were detained in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire over a suspected bomb plot were released without charge.

The Home Office, however, is seeking to deport ten of them, all Pakistani nationals who are currently in immigration custody, on the ground that they pose a risk to national security.

Robin Tam, QC, representing the Home Secretary, said that there was a “high risk that they would re-engage in their former activities” if the men were released.

The ten are appealing against that decision. Four appeared before a Special Immigrations Appeals Commission hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, at which their lawyers applied unsuccessfully for bail and claimed that despite an extensive police investigation there was no evidence that the men were involved in extremism.

The arrests, on April 8, were brought forward after Bob Quick, the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner and Britain’s most senior anti-terrorism officer, revealed details of the operation by accident.

Stephanie Harrison, representing one of the men, who can be identified only as XC, told the commission that given the high profile of the arrests and the events before them “one cannot exclude political expediency as a factor” in the decision to deport the men rather than simply release them.

“Not a single piece of actual physical evidence has been produced” against her client, she said.

Sibghat Kadri QC, representing Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, said that he was a “genuine student” who is was in Britain with the sole purpose of obtaining a Masters degree. He said that during lengthy police interviews his client was never told of “the substance of any allegations against him”.

Mr Kadri said that Mr Khgan's arrest by the UK Border Agency immediately after he was released without charge by the police was causing a great deal of concern and unrest among both the Muslim community in the United Kingdom and the wider international community. He said: “Any miscarriage of justice will cause irreparable damage to race relations and consequently to the national security of the United Kingdom.”

Thaindian News : Arrested Pak students’ part Al-Qaeda network, claims British official

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arrested Pak students’ part Al-Qaeda network, claims British official

by ANI | May 13, 2009

London, May 13 (ANI): All the 10 Pakistani students who were arrested last month from different parts of London on suspicion of plotting bomb attack across Britain were actually part of Al-Qaeda’s network, a British official has claimed.

Robin Tam QC for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London that all the so-called students, who were arrested, had links with Al-Qaeda.

“All the applicants were members of a UK based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning,” Tam said.

He urged the commission to allow the officials to deport the suspects, as they pose a risk to the national security.

“Each therefore poses a risk to national security and deportation would be considered in the national good,” The Telegraph quoted Tam, as saying.

He also objected the idea of granting them bail, saying they could once again start their nefarious activities.

“There is a high risk that they would re-engage in their former activity to the detriment of national security,” he said.

Meanwhile, a court has rejected the bail applications of four Pakistani students currently detained at Manchester prison for deportation on national security grounds.

The Lawyer of the students, Sibghat Ullah Qadri argued that chief constable of Greater Manchester police Peter Fahy himself had said in a press statement that the students are innocent until proven guilty and free to walk away.

However, the court rejected his claims. (ANI)

Telegraph : Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | May 12, 2009

Ten Pakistani men released without charge after an investigation into an alleged plot to bomb shopping centres in Manchester were part of an al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain and should be deported, a tribunal has heard.

The men were arrested on April 8 after former Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick entered Downing Street with details of the operation against the men visible under his arm.

None of the men were charged with any crime but the government launched an attempt to have the men deported.

Their lawyers are objecting to the deportation orders, arguing that they should be freed to continue their studies.

Robin Tam QC for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London: "All the applicants were members of a UK based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning.

"Each therefore poses a risk to national security and deportation would be considered in the national good."

Mr Tam said there was a "high risk they would re-engage in their former activity to the detriment of national security" and there was a risk they would abscond if granted bail.

All the group were "young single men with no close family ties to the UK and each claims to have been a student", Mr Tam added.

Three of the men, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, waived their rights to anonymity at the hearing.

The SIAC panel considered evidence behind closed doors before refusing bail for the three named men, along with a fourth, "XC."

Sibghat Kadri QC for Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, said the Pakistani High Commissioner in London had claimed the operation against the men was a "hoax" and added: "Other than what he was told upon arrest, that he was suspected to be a terrorist, he has never been informed of the substance of any allegations against him.

"During various interviews he was subjected to intensive interrogation. He was asked mostly about his association with friends, going to the mosque, meeting various friends and taking photographs."

He added that despite the police seizing computers, a TV and clothing which were subjected to forensic examination, "not a shred of evidence was found."

He added: "This case does not involve the liberty of the applicant but the wider question of trust that the community can repose in the security services in a multi-racial society and the subsequent faith in the Secretary of State to make a decision based on justice rather than fear of political failure."

The Nation (Pakistan) : Pak students denied bail

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pak students denied bail

By: Asif Mehmood | May 13, 2009

LONDON - A British court on Tuesday rejected the bail applications of four Pakistani students currently detained at Manchester prison for deportation on national security grounds.

Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan, Tariq-ur-Rehman and Abid Naseer were arrested in bungled operation PATHWAY on April 8 on suspicion of their involvement in a “terror plot”.

The Barrister of students, Sibghat Ullah Qadri QC in the Special Immigration Appeal Commission of the Royal court argued that National security should not be invoked in this case because no criminal charges were pressed by the crown prosecution service after 13 days of rigorous interrogation.

The Lawyer further argued that chief constable of Greater Manchester police Peter Fahy confirmed in a Press statement that these students are innocent until proven guilty and free to walk away.

Barrister Qadri and solicitor advocate Amjad Malik argued that commission should look at the secret evidence provided by MI5 and MI6 with great caution as there assessment has proven faulty here and abroad in cases of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and forest gate terror arrests.

It was further submitted to the court that Justice should be seen to be done as it is pivotal for British justice system to gain the confidence of Muslim and minority communities for the sake of national harmony and good race relations which has a direct impact on the national security of the UK.

Barrister Ms Harrison representing one student Abid Nasir said that the Secretary of State does not have clear indication that these boys can be sent back to Pakistan without fear of torture, therefore, power to make a deportation order is an administrative abuse of power.

George Brown and John Nicholson representing Tariq-ur-Rehman and Shoaib Khan said that their clients are lawful entrants and have the right to bail.

Earlier Robin Tam QC, arguing on behalf of the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, opposed the bail for all four Pakistani students on the premise that no restriction can stop them from continuing unlawful activities and they, if released, will continue to be part of Al-Qaeda’s London-based network. He assured the court that talks are under way with Pakistani authorities to seek assurances that these students will not be tortured upon return.

Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Daly of the Special Immigration Appeal Commission, while refusing the bail application, said the court has further directed the Secretary of State to produce open and secret evidence by July 6, 2009.

The next hearing of these appeals will be on July 27 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Asian News : Terror arrest students launch bid to stay

Monday, May 11, 2009

Terror arrest students launch bid to stay

May 11, 2009

TEN men facing deportation after they were arrested in anti-terror raids will launch a bid to stay in Britain today.

The news came as a Rochdale-based lawyer representing four of the men said they intended to remain in Manchester if attempts to send them back to Pakistan failed.

Amjad Malik said his clients were `shattered' but determined to clear their names.

The Home Office is deporting the men, who were not charged following the raids, on `national security' grounds.

Mr Malik said the men felt they had been picked out simply because they were `highly visible' Muslims and because of Taliban links to the area of Pakistan they come from.

The 10 men - who all had student visas - are fighting deportation and a bail hearing will be held at the High Court in London.

They were among 12 people arrested by armed police in locations across the north west - including Cheetham Hill, Manchester - last month. Another arrested man is a British citizen and the 12th is not contesting deportation.

Four of the men, who had been living in Manchester and are being held at Strangeways prison, are being represented by Mr Malik. He said: "They feel this is all because they come from an area of Pakistan where the Taliban is active. They feel this is because they happen to be in Manchester, are going to the mosque and have beards."

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester's Chief Constable Peter Fahy took the unusual step of defending the arrests in his online diary or `blog'.

He wrote: "We certainly did not arrest these people on account of their appearance or due to racial or religious stereotyping."

A public meeting, supported by the British Libyan Solidarity Campaign and the Respect Party, was also held at the Pakistani Community Centre in Longsight on Saturday condemning the arrests and the threat of deportation and seeking justice for the detained men.

A live telephone link was made to Pakistan so family of some of the detained men could speak about their fears over the detention.

The father of one student, Mohammed Abid Naseer said he used his family savings to send his son to England to study.

Nasrullah Khan told the meeting: "I fear for my son. He only came to England to study and I appeal to the government to give him the chance to finish his education.

"I have not been able to speak to my son since the arrest and we are very worried about him and his health. We are very distressed about the situation.

"We sent our son to study not to be oppressed."

Lawyer John Nicholson, who will be representing one of the students said: "We are living in a climate of fear where Muslims are being discriminated against.

"When one of the students was asked why he thought he was arrested. He said it was because he had a beard.

"These men still don’t know why they were arrested and why they are a 'threat to national security.'

"But we as a community can do something about it. We need to help these men clear their names and let them be students again."

He added: "It is not a crime to wear a beard or to talk to your Muslim fronds from Pakistan or socialise at the local Indian restaurant.

"If the government had anything on these men then they would have charged them and not have let them walk free from the police station."

Supporters of the 11 men also held a peaceful protest outside Strangeways prison denouncing the `criminalisation' of Muslims.

Telegraph : Sir Paul Stephenson: police are failing the public on organised crime

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sir Paul Stephenson: police are failing the public on organised crime

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, believes Britain’s police forces are failing the public in their attempts to tackle organised crime.

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter | May 9, 2009

The new Commissioner said the issue had to return to the political agenda because not enough progress had been made against crime gangs that cost the nation an estimated £40 billion a year.

“I am disappointed with the progress – or lack of progress – made since 2003 to impact significantly organised crime in the United Kingdom,” he said.

His research suggests that only six per cent of organised crime gangs have been disrupted by the “Police Service Plc” – all forces.

“We have to increase the national police capability to deal with serious organised crime. I don’t think we have made the progress that we should have done,” he added.

Violent organised crime gangs are involved in drugs’ rings, people smuggling, gun-running, fraud operations, prostitution and other offences. There are believed to be some 2,800 organised crime gangs in the UK.

Sir Paul accepts, however, that his suggestion in 2003, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), that some of the 43 forces in England and Wales should be merged, has been debated and rejected.

Individual forces, supported by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which is intelligence-led, currently tackle organised crime in the UK.

Some senior officers and politicians believe investigations need to be conducted by larger, more centralised crime-fighting units.

Sir Paul made his comments in a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Telegraph to mark his first 100 days as Commissioner.

At his eighth floor office at New Scotland Yard, he shrugged off suggestions that he had taken on the most difficult – and politically sensitive – job in the country.

He was appointed by a Labour Home Secretary (Jacqui Smith) but is answerable to a Tory Mayor (Boris Johnson). Furthermore, in recent years, the largest police force in the country has been plagued by in-fighting, allegations of racism and low morale.

Sir Paul, 55, who took over as Commissioner from the embattled Sir Ian Blair, said of his £254,000-a-year post: "It's challenging, it's difficult, but I didn't expect anything else."

Those difficult and challenging moments have included the heavy-handed arrest of Damian Green, the shadow immigration spokesman; the death of a man at the G20 protests who appeared to have been manhandled by a police officer; and the careless – if accidental – leaking of a major investigation by Bob Quick, then the head of the Met's anti-terrorism unit.

Yet Sir Paul, 55, a straight-talking Lancastrian and undoubtedly more of a "coppers' copper" than his predecessor, is in no doubt that his greatest challenges lie ahead.

In three years' time, London will host the 2012 Olympics in the knowledge that al-Qaeda terrorists are almost certainly planning a "spectacular" strike when the eyes of the world will be on the capital for two months.

"We will be mounting the biggest security operation ever against what is uniquely the greatest terrorist threat. That is a very significant challenge," he said. "The chances of an attempt to commit further terrorist atrocities are high."

Sir Paul is adamant, however, that the Met can thwart any major terrorist strike, although he admits that some areas of policing may suffer as a result.

"I am confident that we will deliver a safe and secure Olympics. The issue for me will be how much of our 'business as usual' will be interfered with to do that. Undoubtedly, there will be significant interference."

Last month the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that Damian Green, the senior Conservative MP who was arrested over a series of Whitehall leaks, would not face charges.

Yet senior Tories remain incensed by the a manner in which Mr Green was detained by Scotland Yard. He was questioned for nine hours and had his homes and Commons office searched after being arrested.

Colleagues of Sir Paul have indicated privately that he was angered by the operation, once again headed by Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, especially as it happened while he was Acting Commissioner and still under consideration for the top job.

A report into the investigation by Ian Johnston, the head of the British Transport Police, is to be published soon in redacted form: he is believed to have concluded the arrest was legal but questioned whether it was a proportionate response.

"There will be lessons learnt from this. I think Ian's advice [conclusion] on this is wise," Sir Paul said.

Mr Quick was at the centre of controversy again last month when he was photographed entering Downing Street carrying a secret briefing note on which details of an undercover terrorist operation – code-named Pathway – could be seen.

As a result, the operation had to be brought forward – and Mr Quick resigned.

Sir Paul said that Mr Quick had been guilty of "a serious mistake" but added his departure was "a sad loss to policing".

"I have no information that would indicate that the decision to go in early undermined that operation," Sir Paul stressed.

In the end, all 12 suspects were released without charge.

Yet Sir Paul has faced his biggest criticism over the police handling of the G20 protest, which led to the death of Ian Tomlinson, 47.

Video footage appears to show the newspaper seller being assaulted from behind by a baton-wielding officer. Sir Paul said: "It is sad that someone died.

The family want answers and it is right that they should get those answers and that there should be an independent investigation [by the Independent Police Complaints Commission]."

He said the video images were "concerning" and that police tactics are being reviewed.

However, Sir Paul said the Met had followed the right investigative procedures, and had been open and honest about events.

"This was the most large-scale and complex security operation we have ever done.

"Some of our international colleagues – particularly in Australia – found it incredible that we had managed to pull this operation off in such a short period of time. Thousands of people in the Met did a fantastic job."

Sir Paul's interview with The Sunday Telegraph came the day after it was announced that the DNA profiles of some 850,000 innocent Briton would – over the next 12 years – be wiped off the national database.

Acknowledging that a balance was needed between civil liberty and crime detection, he indicated, however, that he was reluctant to lose the useful "tool" as a result of the European Court ruling.

"My raison d'ĂȘtre as the most senior cop in the country is to save life and to prevent and detect crime. I do know that the DNA database in its current form has saved life and been instrumental in detecting crime."

Unsurprisingly, Sir Paul does not like the label of "institutionally racist" that the Met was given by the Macpherson report after the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

"I do not think it is a useful definition to drive change," he said, adding that significant progress has been made in this area in the past 16 years.

Of internal infighting and claims of racism from the National Black Police Federation, he said: "My job is to work with everyone who wants to make the Met a better organisation. And that includes working with people who do not always agree with me.

"But I reserve the right – and indeed I have the responsibility and duty as Commissioner – to say things as I see them."

Sir Paul has only just started his tenure, but what does he hope, many years from now, will be his legacy when he steps down as Commissioner?

"I would want to have made an impact on the perception and reality of violence. I would want us to have communities that are confident that we are on their side and doing their bidding.

"And I want us to display the highest levels of professionalism and pride, so that people have the right to feel that working for the Met is something quite special."

Observer : G20 police 'used undercover men to incite crowds'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

G20 police 'used undercover men to incite crowds'

MP demands inquiry into Met tactics at demo

Jamie Doward and Mark Townsend | The Observer | May 10, 2009

An MP who was involved in last month's G20 protests in London is to call for an investigation into whether the police used agents provocateurs to incite the crowds.

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.

Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon.

Brake, a member of the influential home affairs select committee, will raise the allegations when he gives evidence before parliament's joint committee on human rights on Tuesday.

"When I was in the middle of the crowd, two people came over to me and said, 'There are people over there who we believe are policemen and who have been encouraging the crowd to throw things at the police,'" Brake said. But when the crowd became suspicious of the men and accused them of being police officers, the pair approached the police line and passed through after showing some form of identification.

Brake has produced a draft report of his experiences for the human rights committee, having received written statements from people in the crowd. These include Tony Amos, a photographer who was standing with protesters in the Royal Exchange between 5pm and 6pm. "He [one of the alleged officers] was egging protesters on. It was very noticeable," Amos said. "Then suddenly a protester seemed to identify him as a policeman and turned on him. He ­legged it towards the police line, flashed some ID and they just let him through, no questions asked."

Amos added: "He was pretty much inciting the crowd. He could not be called an observer. I don't believe in conspiracy theories but this really struck me. Hopefully, a review of video evidence will clear this up."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has received 256 complaints relating to the G20 protests. Of these, 121 have been made about the use of force by police officers, while 75 relate to police tactics. The IPCC said it had no record of complaints involving the use of police agents provocateurs. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We would never deploy officers in this way or condone such behaviour."

The use of plain-clothes officers in crowd situations is considered a vital tactic for gathering evidence. It has been used effectively to combat football hooliganism in the UK and was employed during the May Day protests in 2001.

Brake said he intends to raise the allegations with the Met's commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, when he next appears before the home affairs select committee. "There is a logic having plain-clothes officers in the crowd, but no logic if the officers are actively encouraging violence, which would be a source of great concern," Brake said.

The MP said that given only a few people were allowed out of the corralled crowd for the five hours he was held inside it, there should be no problem in investigating the allegation by examining video footage.

Manchester Evening News : Muslims hit back over terror raids

Friday, May 08, 2009

Muslims hit back over terror raids

Mark Hesford | May 8, 2009

PUBLIC meetings denouncing the 'criminalisation of Muslims' will be held in the wake of anti-terror raids in Manchester.

Two meetings have been arranged by community leaders in Cheetham Hill after last month's police swoop in which 12 men were arrested but never charged.

The meetings are being supported by the British Libyan Solidarity Campaign, The Respect Party, The Mule, Red Pepper and Manchester No Borders.

Organisers have branded the arrests, across the north west, as an example of 'shameful harassment' against the Muslim community. The allegations have been strongly refuted by Greater Manchester Police.

A leaflet publicising the meetings states: "In spite of no evidence of any terror plot being found, 11 of the 12 are still being held in custody, awaiting deportation. Instead of an apology, the police promised more such raids.

"We must unite to stop the deportation of Pakistani students and break the wall of fear that is being built around Muslim communities.

"The government must stop this shameful harassment and criminalisation of Muslim communities."

Legal representatives, campaigners and families of some of the men facing deportation are due to speak at the public meetings - tomorrow at the Pakistani Community Centre, Stockport Road, Longsight (2pm) and on Tuesday at the Saffron Restaurant, Cheetham Hill Road, Cheetham Hill (7.30pm). The meetings come as Greater Manchester Police continue their 18-month Counter Terrorism Consultation to let the public offer ideas on how to prevent terrorism.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, in charge of the raids for GMP, said: "The operations the GMP and North West Counter Terrorism Unit carry out have one objective - to protect the public. They are not targeted at any particular groups or communities.

"We recognise that a number of people carrying out terrorist actions have purported to do this supporting Islam but we know Islam is a peaceful religion."

Last week, Greater Manchester Police Authority organised an event hosted by the Community Security Trust to allow people to share their views.

The CST is a charity that seeks to protect the Jewish community from threats of bigotry and terrorism.

BBC : Terror raid men 'fit stereotype'

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Terror raid men 'fit stereotype'

May 6, 2009

The lawyer for three men arrested in anti-terror raids said they were targeted as they fit the "terrorist" stereotype.

Solicitor Amjad Malik told BBC's Asian Network that the men felt discriminated against because they are Muslims and he says they are innocent.

He said: "Anybody who has a beard and goes to prayer cannot be considered a threat to national security."

The men held in Liverpool, Manchester and Clitheroe were not charged.

Of the 12 men arrested in the raids, 11 were Pakistani nationals, with 10 holding student visas. One was from Great Britain.

Deportation orders

Mr Malik, who was asked by Pakistan High Commission to represent the students, believes the government has been too quick to ask for their deportation.

He said he will help with the appeal against their deportation orders before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

He said: "The secretary of state has a huge responsibility to protect the public but will have to create a balance between the interest of individuals as well as the state."

Faced criticism

He said because no charges had been brought against the men they should be allowed to continue their studies.

Police faced criticism after prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to justify bringing any charges against the men.

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC will look at the case as part of his ongoing role as independent reviewer of terrorism laws.

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy, defended the arrests, saying he was not "embarrassed".

Telegraph : Manchester 'bomb plot' accused appeal against deportation

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Manchester 'bomb plot' accused appeal against deportation

All ten of the Pakistani men released following an alleged Easter bombing plot to blow up shopping centers in Manchester have appealed against being deported.

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | May 6, 2009

The men, most of whom arrived on student visas, have lodged cases with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) arguing that they could be tortured if they were returned to Pakistan.

All the detainees, who can apply for bail, have requested anonymity which means the Daily Telegraph is now banned from using their names.

Their fight is likely to take several years and cost the tax payer millions of pounds as they take it through the SIAC system and then appeal to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights.

It is understood the UK Borders Agency applied to have them deported on the grounds of national security and visa irregularities – several of the men were working as security guards although they had arrived on student visas.

SIAC is allowed to consider intelligence information that could not be put before the courts with a special advocate representing the detainees in closed hearings.

The security services insist they have intelligence, understood to be based on phone taps and intercepted emails, that would not be admissible in a normal court and that their investigation is continuing.

Police were hoping to find further information from the men's computers and searches of their homes that would narrow down the targets and their method of attack.

One man, who is a British citizen, was released without charge while the remaining ten, none of whom have been charged, are held in immigration custody.

APP : Detained Pakistani students seek bail

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Detained Pakistani students seek bail

May 5, 2009

LONDON, May 5 (APP)- Four out of 10 Pakistani national students currently detained at Manchester prison for deportation on national security grounds have lodged their bail applications with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

Those who have moved the bail application are Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq ur Rehman and Abid Naseer, the defence team announced Tuesday.

Special Immigration Appeals Commission which was set up in 1999 under an Act of Parliament is a specialist tribunal adjudicating appeals where a person is considered to be a threat to national security of the country, will hear their appeals and bails.

Tribunal consists of a Senior High Court Judge, one Immigration Judge as a member and one person from KPMG group having experience of dealing with security matters and evidence.

Its proceedings are conducted in half camera and half public. In the camera proceedings a Special Advocate is appointed by the Government to protect the interest of the accused in secret session where all the secret evidence is presented and analysed.

Appellants are being deported on grounds of posing threat to national security of UK as being concerned in ‘Islamic extremist activities and for the reason that they were investigated under terrorism Act 2000 since April 8 last month .

Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings and on April 21, they were released from criminal investigation to UK Border Agency who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.

Barristers Sibghat ullah Kadri QC, John Nicholson, George Brown will argue the bail applications before SIAC upon instructions of Amjad Malik Solicitors.

The Defence team has urged the Pakistan High Commission to accelerate efforts to seek a facility for detainees for a telephone access to their legal team, family and Consulate.

The Peninsula : Deportation accord yet to materialise

Monday, May 04, 2009

Deportation accord yet to materialise

May 4, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the UK are expected to undertake ‘exchange of letters’ during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit later this month, sources said.

The agreement on deportation may be finalised despite reservations expressed by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

Britain had proposed to Pakistan signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) titled ‘Deportation with Assurances’, apparently to subvert legal challenge to the likely deportation of the Pakistani students being held by Britain’s Border Agency.

The British agency intends to deport the Pakistani students on national security grounds despite the fact that they had been released without charge in the Easter bomb plot.

The British proposal had met with stiff resistance from the Foreign Office, and the Pakistan High Commission in London had refused to issue visas to some British experts, who had planned to visit Islamabad to negotiate the MoU. Prime Minister Gordon Brown had also taken up the matter with his interlocutors during his visit to Islamabad earlier this week and called for expediting the signing of the MoU. Prime Minister Gilani had politely turned down Brown’s request, telling him that the proposed MoU required thorough examination.

But, it appears that Brown was able to win some support for his proposal in Islamabad as soon after his visit the withheld visas for the British team were issued following the intervention of Interior Minister Rehman Malik. The British team is expected to visit Pakistan next week. Sources said instead of signing the MoU, both countries would now exchange letters during Zardari’s visit to London on May 14.

Although, the two nomenclatures — the MoU and Exchange of Letters — appear to be quite different from one another, in effect both reflect a commitment on part of the governments involved to adhere to their agreement on a particular issue.

An analyst explained that the ‘Exchange of Letters’ carries diplomatic value and has binding effect. The Foreign Office is in the dark about these developments. A source said the interior minister was handling the matter himself and the Foreign Office was not being kept on board. President Zardari had refused to appear with the British prime minister at a press conference during Brown’s April 27 visit to Pakistan.

The refusal was taken by the media as a snub for Brown because of differences over the arrest of Pakistani students and the subsequent handling of the matter. However, it has now transpired that Zardari had refused a press conference with Brown to avoid differing with him publicly on the students’ issue, because it was anticipated that the media could be posing tough questions.

Pakistan Times : Appeal against deportation filed by detained Pak students

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Appeal against deportation filed by detained Pak students

'Pakistan Times' Foreign Desk | May 2, 2009

LONDON (UK): Four out of the ten Pakistani students arrested on terrorism suspicion by the British authorities last month and subsequently released after the charges were dropped, have now filed appeal against their deportation.

This was stated by lawyer Amjad Malik who was asked by Pakistan High Commission to represent 4 out of 10 Pakistani national students currently detained at Manchester prison and awaiting deportation on national security grounds.

The first hearing of all 10 students appeal is likely to be set in first two weeks of the current month. The four students are kept in highly secure “category A” at Manchester prison on the orders of UK Border Agency.

Malik said that legal team along with Pakistani Consul General in Manchester Masroor Junejo and Welfare Attache Amir Nisar Chaudhry met all detained students namely Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq ur Rehman and Abid Naseer who have instructed him to file their appeals which have been lodged with the required court with effect from April 28.

Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings against the students and on April 21 they were released from criminal investigation to UK Border Agency who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.

According to Malik, the appeals have been lodged on the grounds that the appellants are racially discriminated being Pakistani nationals and being Muslims and that it would be against appellant’s rights under ECHR for UK to remove or deport them from Britain because the country is signatory to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

Furthermore, the British Home Secretary has not put forward any concrete evidence in her contention that the appellants are a threat to “national security” of the UK and or even if there is any reason to support that contention, the proper course of action would be to charge the appellant and brought them before the court of law in a criminal proceedings.

But such proceedings has never been ensued and no charges were put forward by the Crown Prosecution Service. Therefore there is no evidence to support any charges against the appellants and their arrest, detention and continuing incarceration is unlawful, and unreasonable and without any substance; The appeal also said the appellants have been subjected to a one sided media trial at that time when they were incommunicado without a lawyer, consulate access and without a phone call to their family.

They have also felt that they have been made a scapegoat and immigration decision is but an effort to avoid answers to questions on the failure of the operation “Pathway” in order to divert attention from their innocence as the appellants feel that they are “innocent” until ‘proven guilty’ by a court of law.

The Nation (Pakistan) : Pak students file plea against deportation

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pak students file plea against deportation

May 2, 2009

LONDON (APP) - Four out of the ten Pakistani students arrested on terrorism suspicion by the British authorities last month and subsequently released after the charges were dropped, have now filed appeal against their deportation. This was stated by lawyer Amjad Malik, who was asked by Pakistan High Commission to represent 4 out of 10 Pakistani national students currently detained at Manchester prison and awaiting deportation on national security grounds.

The first hearing of all 10 students appeal is likely to be set in first two weeks of the current month. The four students are kept in highly secure “category A” at Manchester prison on the orders of UK Border Agency.

Malik said that legal team along with Pakistani Consul General in Manchester Masroor Junejo and Welfare AttachT Amir Nisar Ch met all detained students namely Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq ur Rehman and Abid Naseer who have instructed him to file their appeals which have been lodged with the required court with effect from April 28. Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings against the students and on April 21 they were released from criminal investigation to UK Border Agency, who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.

According to Malik, the appeals have been lodged on the grounds that the appellants are racially discriminated being Pakistani nationals and being Muslims and that it would be against appellant’s rights under ECHR for UK to remove or deport them from Britain because the country is signatory to the 1950 European Convention on HR.

The Nation (Pakistan) : "Operation Pathway"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Operation Pathway"

By Tayyab Siddiqui | May 2, 2009

Pakistan's stock was never so low in the international community as is now. The country is a favourite target of media, NGO's and the official circles in Europe and the US. The refrain is that Pakistan is a sanctuary of terrorists, an epicentre of terrorism and a direct threat to global peace and security. The accusations have been without credible evidence, but the nefarious campaign has severely impacted on Pakistan expatriates who experience on daily basis humiliation of intrusive investigation and viewed as potential terrorist. The waves of anti-Pakistan sentiments based on specious intelligence report has ground swelled and in most capitals of Europe the resident Pakistanis are living in an atmosphere of fear and apprehensions.

In Britain, since July 7, terrorist attacks in London subway, allegedly involving couple of British nationals of Pakistan's origin has led to hysteria against Pakistan. The Mumbai Tragedy, in which three Britons also died, was over blown by the British authorities. Foreign Secretary Miliband visited Pakistan and before Pakistan's involvement could be established demanded Pakistan to accept the responsibility. He went to the extent of blaming Pakistan, stating that 2/3 of the terrorist attacks in Britain originate from Pakistan. The statement was followed by a telephone call from Brown to Zardari expressing deep concerns and urging him to take immediate and effective measures to eliminate terrorists and their hideouts.

The bizarre incident of April 8, when 12 Pakistani students were arrested over a suspected bomb plot in UK, and their eventual release for want of any evidence and substance is the right time and occasion for Pakistan to protest against the statements from the authorities including the PM for maligning Pakistan who termed the arrests as "a very big terrorist plot."

The failure of "Operation Pathway" - the code name given to the probe maligned Pakistan beyond relief. We should not therefore let the issue die unless Britain apologies and compensate the accused for wrongful detention under prevalent UK laws.

The decision to deport these Pakistanis, declared innocent back home is without precedent, and should be resisted by us. There are no basis in law to deport them as they have been found innocent of any wrongdoing and are holding valid student visas. Our high commissioner in London has rightly demanded that the authorities, "owe an apology not only to these boys but also to the Government of Pakistan."

Other Pakistan : Free the Pakistani Students Campaign

Friday, May 01, 2009

Free the Pakistani Students Campaign

May 1, 2009

Today I have launched a campaign to free the Pakistani students detained in the UK awaiting deportation on national security grounds. The campaign has a dedicated page as above and will include regular updates. The campaign has begun well and I am contacting British politicians to win their support and the British media to secure coverage on this key issue.

I request Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis to help in any way possible be it by passing on this post or website, speaking to a politician or a media contact or posting this post on your facebook page so the campaign can get the support and coverage it needs and deserves. For Facebook users please do attend the Free Pakistani Students Campaign Launch event via link here and send invitations to others and become a fan of Other Pakistan so you can be updated on progress.

Free the Pakistani Students

The ‘Free the Pakistani Students’ campaign led by Wasim Arif seeks the release of the ten Pakistani students who are under detention and to be deported from the UK on national security grounds. It seems that ‘Operation Pathway’ has become ‘Operation Persecute Pakistanis’ given that all ten Pakistani national students were released without charge, yet all have not been allowed to resume their studies. Worse the students have been detained awaiting deportation on a pack of lies it stands to reason given that the police did not charge a single student.

A press release issued by a lawyer for the students Amjad Malik sets out the background and legal position, and is shown below:

Press Note: Detained Pakistani Students at Manchester

I was asked by Pakistan High Commisison to represent 4 out of 10 Pakistani national students currently detained at Manchester prison who are threatened of deportation on national security grounds.

They are being deported on grounds of posing threat to national security of UK as being concerned in islamic extremist activities and for the reason that they were investigated under terrorism Act 2000 since 8 april 2009. Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings and on 21 April, they were released from criminal invetigation to UK Border Agency who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.

If they choose to appeal their deportation orders, they will have a free standing right of appeal before ‘Special Immigration Appeals Commission’ which was set up under SIAC Act 1997.

I can confirm that legal team along with Pakistani Consul General Mr. Masroor Junejo and Welfare Attache Mr. Amir Nisar Ch met all detained students at Manchester namely; Mr. Shoiab Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq Ur Rehman and Abid Naseer who all are well and instructed Amjad Malik, a Supreme Court Solicitor-Advocate and life member of SCBA (Pakistan) to file their appeals which have been lodged with the required court with effect from 28 April 2009.

Appeals are lodged on the grounds that:

a. That appellants are racially discriminated being Pakistani nationals and being Muslims; and That it would be against appellant’s rights under ECHR for UK to remove or deport the appellant from the United Kingdom because of that decision under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (Art.3,5,6, 8,9,10,14);

b. That the appellant appeals to SIAC on the following general grounds;That Home Secretary has not put forward any concrete evidence in her contention that the appellants are a threat to ‘national security’ of the UK; and or even if there is any reason to support that contention, the proper course of action would be to charge the appellant and brought them before the court of law in a criminal proceedings, but such proceedings has never been ensued and no charges were put forward by the CPS; Therefore it is appellants case on the limited information available to their defence that there is no evidence to support any charges and the arrest, detention and continuing incarceration is unlawful, and unreasonable; and without any substance;

c. That the appellant has been subjected to a one sided media trial at that time appellants were incommunicado without a lawyer, consulate access and without a phone call to their family;

d. That, in the circumstances appellant feels that they have been made a scapegoat and immigration decision is but an effort to avoid answers to questions on the failure of the operation ‘pathway’ in order to divert attention from their innocence as the appellant feel that they are ‘innocent’ until ‘proven guilty’ by a court of law.

First hearing of all 10 students appeal is likely to be set in first 2 weeks of May.

All 4 students are kept in highly secure ‘category A’ at Manchester prison on the orders of UK Border Agency.

Our first priority was to ensure that their appeals are lodged in time. Further matters of their case progress & strategy will be decided in next week by a panel of eminent lawyers in consultation with all stake holders including their bail application(s) which are likely to be heard in the 2nd week of May 09.

Amjad Malik

Solicitor-Advocate

Manchester

The ‘Free the Pakistani Students’ campaign has one demand that the Pakistani students are released and allowed to continue their studies. Furthermore it is our view that in the best interests of good community relations and more importantly good old British justice and fair play it is requested that the students are either released or charged to face a court of law. The present position of the UK government smacks of a disdain for fair play and justice and is not conducive to good community relations with a Pakistani community that increasingly feels under pressure nationally and internationally.

Guardian : G20 protests: Met police accused of misleading watchdog

Friday, May 01, 2009

G20 protests: Met police accused of misleading watchdog

by Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor | May 1, 2009

Scotland Yard was accused of misleading its own watchdog last night after an official report on the policing of the G20 London protests was said to contain "false claims" and "gross inaccuracies".

The document, submitted to a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority yesterday, set out the police version of events during the demonstrations last month, and included claims protesters and independent observers said were misleading.

The Liberal Democrat justice spokesman, David Howarth, said the report was "full of serious inaccuracies" and questioned its claim that protesters were free to leave police cordons on the streets.

The controversial use of cordons to "kettle", or corral, people at the rally is under review by Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary.

The report stated that "whenever possible, people were allowed to leave the cordon" around the Bank of England and the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate. But accounts from hundreds of people caught inside the pens for hours indicated police refused people permission to leave.

The author of the report, assistant commissioner Chris Allison, defended the tactics of containment, telling the MPA that penning protesters, rather than dispersing them, was effective in reducing violence. But the MPA unanimously agreed to examine kettling and other public-order police tactics, in its civil liberties panel.

Other alleged inaccuracies in the Met's report included the claim that the Bishopsgate Climate Camp had blocked a "four-lane highway", and that police had supplied water to penned people.

The report also said Climate Camp protesters had "refused to divulge their plans" at a meeting with senior officers on the eve of the rally. Howarth, who mediated the meeting, said protesters had been constructive in attempts to liaise with the police. "It is time for the spinning to stop and for senior officers to ... take responsibility," Howarth said.

The report also said the Met was cooperating with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating a complaint relating to an alleged assault of a 22-year-old woman on 1 April. The IPCC has received 256 complaints relating to G20 demonstrations.

In a statement last night, the Met said: "Wherever operationally possible people were allowed out of the containment." It conceded that the Climate Camp had been set-up in a two-lane road, but said traffic had been impacted further south.

Regarding water supplies, the Met said: "Officers gave people water but kept the bottles so they could not be thrown ... Six toilets were deployed by the local authority at the request of police; these contained drinkable running water."

APP : Appeal against deportation filed by detained Pak students

Friday, May 01, 2009

Appeal against deportation filed by detained Pak students

May 1, 2009

LONDON, May 1 (APP)-Four out of the ten Pakistani students arrested on terrorism suspicion by the British authorities last month and subsequently released after the charges were dropped, have now filed appeal against their deportation.

This was stated by lawyer Amjad Malik who was asked by Pakistan High Commission to represent 4 out of 10 Pakistani national students currently detained at Manchester prison and awaiting deportation on national security grounds.

The first hearing of all 10 students appeal is likely to be set in first two weeks of the current month. The four students are kept in highly secure “category A” at Manchester prison on the orders of UK Border Agency.

Malik said that legal team along with Pakistani Consul General in Manchester Masroor Junejo and Welfare Attache Amir Nisar Chaudhry met all detained students namely Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq ur Rehman and Abid Naseer who have instructed him to file their appeals which have been lodged with the required court with effect from April 28.

Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings against the students and on April 21 they were released from criminal investigation to UK Border Agency who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.

According to Malik, the appeals have been lodged on the grounds that the appellants are racially discriminated being Pakistani nationals and being Muslims and that it would be against appellant’s rights under ECHR for UK to remove or deport them from Britain because the country is signatory to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

Furthermore, the British Home Secretary has not put forward any concrete evidence in her contention that the appellants are a threat to “national security” of the UK and or even if there is any reason to support that contention, the proper course of action would be to charge the appellant and brought them before the court of law in a criminal proceedings.

But such proceedings has never been ensued and no charges were put forward by the Crown Prosecution Service. Therefore there is no evidence to support any charges against the appellants and their arrest, detention and continuing incarceration is unlawful, and unreasonable and without any substance;

The appeal also said the appellants have been subjected to a one sided media trial at that time when they were incommunicado without a lawyer, consulate access and without a phone call to their family.

They have also felt that they have been made a scapegoat and immigration decision is but an effort to avoid answers to questions on the failure of the operation “Pathway” in order to divert attention from their innocence as the appellants feel that they are “innocent” until ‘proven guilty’ by a court of law.