Belfast Telegraph : Pakistani student 'shocked' at terror arrest

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pakistani student 'shocked' at terror arrest

July 20, 2009

A Pakistani student accused of being part of an alleged terror plot has spoken of his shock at being arrested.

Janus Khan was among 12 men held during raids in the north west of England in April.

He and another man, Sultan Sher, were released from custody on Friday.

Mr Khan, who has been made to wear an electronic tag and is facing deportation following his three-month ordeal, told Channel 4 News police officers burst in, saying "don't move" and "put your hands up".

He said: "I don't have words to describe that moment.

"It was a scary and shocking moment for us."

The 26-year-old, who was studying at Liverpool Hope University and worked part-time as a security guard, was friends with six of the original 12 detained, he told the programme.

He denied holding extremist views or discussing extremism among the group, chatting instead about girls and their studies, he said.

Now staying in a Manchester hostel following his release from Woodhill Prison, Mr Khan said he was interviewed by officers more than 10 times.

"They were asking me about my friends," he said. "There was some pictures put in front of me and they were asking 'who's this guy?', 'who's this guy?'...'how did you meet with him?"

Mr Khan and Mr Sher, from Manchester, were detained as the Home Office sought to deport them, claiming they posed a threat to national security.

But that allegation was dropped last week, a solicitor for one of the men said.

Home Office officials said the Government would now seek to deport them for visa irregularities.

A spokesman said: "These individuals no longer meet the required criteria for detention on the grounds of national security.

"They are currently detained pending removal on immigration grounds, but legally we cannot hold them indefinitely.

"We are therefore putting in place suitable and robust measures to ensure we are fully aware of their whereabouts as we progress their cases for removal."

Lawyer Mohammed Ayub said the terror allegations against his client were "groundless" and he would oppose the continuing attempts to deport him.

He said: "It beggars belief that the Secretary of State could behave like this.

"Why was my client held in custody for all this time?

"I wish to state my client is entitled to an unreserved apology and no further action should be taken against him."

Of the remaining men held during the raid, one has joint British and Pakistani citizenship and has been released.

Another has returned to Pakistan voluntarily and an Afghan man is in custody pending deportation for being in the UK illegally.

The remaining seven still face deportation on the grounds of national security.

Their case returns to court on July 27.

Mr Sher and Mr Khan were arrested on April 18 as part of Operation Pathway, which was launched early after a senior police officer exposed details of the plans.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, who resigned from the Metropolitan Police over the incident, was photographed with a secret document on his way in to Downing Street.