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."