Independent : Pakistani students launch legal action over arrests

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pakistani students launch legal action over arrests

By Emily Dugan | July 19, 2009

Janas Khan, one of two Pakistani students released from prison yesterday months after terrorism charges against them were dropped, has told The Independent on Sunday he was "shocked and angry" at his treatment by the UK Government. Lawyers acting for the remaining seven Pakistani students still held in prison have also announced they will launch a legal challenge against the Government this week.

The 26-year-old business student began to cry as he said: "Growing up we heard that the UK was the one place that respected human rights and justice, which is why I wanted to study here. I'm shocked and angry. I am innocent and I still can't believe I was arrested on no evidence."

Sultan Sher was also released from prison yesterday. The two were among 12 students who were arrested in April after the UK's most senior counterterrorism officer was photographed walking into Downing Street carrying highly sensitive documents revealing details of the operation. The details were visible, and a premature police operation against an alleged al-Qa'ida plot ensued. The officer responsible, Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, resigned.

Criminal charges against all the students were dropped in May because of insufficient evidence, but they have been kept locked in high-security prisons under immigration laws. "They never told us what it was that we were supposed to have done," said Mr Khan. His studies were due to finish in September, but the limitations of his parole conditions means it will be impossible to travel from Manchester to meet his tutors in Liverpool.

Legal challenges for the remaining students will now add to the authorities' embarrassment following the bungled terror case. Two lawsuits will contest the legality of the Government's use of secret evidence in their continued imprisonment as well as the lawfulness of the initial arrest.