Dawn : Pakistani students accuse UK of ill-treatment

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pakistani students accuse UK of ill-treatment

By Baqir Sajjad Syed | August 23, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Two Pakistani students arrested in Britain in connection with an alleged terror plot returned home on Saturday after dropping a legal battle against their deportation and accusing British authorities of ill-treatment during detention.

Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan were among the 12 Pakistani students arrested in April during the Operation Pathway.

The British authorities later failed to bring up charges against them, but decided to deport them for being ‘security risk’.

The two students, along with others detained during the terror raids, had appealed against the deportation decision and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission was scheduled to take up their appeal in March next year.

However, Wahab and Shoaib subsequently decided to leave UK voluntarily after a court rejected their plea for bail, while their appeal against deportation was being heard.

Mr Amjad Malik, the lawyer for both students, told reporters on arrival in Islamabad that his clients were frequently strip-searched, subjected to searches by dogs and served contaminated food.

One of the students, Wahab, described his detention as ‘hell’ and said it showed that the British had no concept of justice. The allegations were rejected by the British High Commission as ‘unfounded’.

‘Whilst in detention, these individuals were afforded the full protection of the UK justice system,’ the statement said, adding the UK Government treats all those in detention in UK prisons fairly and humanely, regardless of their nationality, race or religion.

It said except for one complaint by their lawyer on Aug 14 about contaminated food, there were no complaints by any of the detainees.

Speaking particularly about the two students, the British High Commission said: ‘In the case of these individuals one took up the opportunity to take part in an education course; and both used the prison gymnasium, exercised frequently and were free to worship and undertake other activities in accordance with Islamic teachings.’