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.