Terror deportation: Lecturers petition home secretary

The University and College Union (UCU) today protested to the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, against the deportation of a Nottingham University administrator caught up in a police investigation of terrorist literature. Hicham Yezza, who was working as an administrator at the university, was arrested for printing out a copy of the widely available al-Qaida training manual for his friend, Rizwaan Sabir. He was re-arrested on immigration grounds after his release from custody and is due to be deported to Algeria on June 1. Sabir, 22, was arrested and detained under the Terrorism Act for six days after downloading al-Qaida-related material for his research into terrorist tactics. His university supervisors have insisted the materials were directly relevant to his research. Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, said Yezza had no involvement in activity that threatened public safety and was being denied a fair trial. She said he lived in the UK for 13 years, studied for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and had been planning to take his annual trip to the Hay festival when he was arrested. Earlier the lecturers’ union conference in Manchester heard that university staff were censoring their own work because of the climate of fear on campus created by the government’s anti-terrorism agenda. Anthea Lipsett reports.

City imam condemns restaurant blast

A Muslim leader told county councillors he condemned a city centre explosion suspected to have been carried out by a convert to Islam. The Imam of Exeter Mosque Mohammed Abrar said the Islamic Centre of the South West “utterly condemns” the “act of terror” in the city’s Giraffe restaurant last Thursday. Nick Reilly, 22, from Plymouth, who was arrested at the scene under the Terrorism Act, suffered facial and eye injuries when one of three devices partially exploded. He was released from hospital in Exeter on Monday and can now be formally interviewed by police. Reilly, 22, had eye and face injuries after a device packed with nails blew up in a cafe in Exeter last Thursday. In a joint statement to Devon County Council’s Executive the Imam and authority leader Brian Greenslade said the Exeter Muslim community and the council were “united in their shock and condemnation” of last week’s attempted bombing. It read: “Such an act of terrorism is designed to create division, is indiscriminate in who it affects, and is a crime.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=DB86CB78FD675E070D36FCDB&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

‘Stop police seizing reporters’ notes’, pleads journalist

An investigative journalist found himself at odds with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after it used the Terrorism Act 2000 to demand that he hand over the notes for his forthcoming book on Islamist extremism. Writing before Wednesday’s High Court ruling on his appeal, Shiv Malik said what was at stake here was press freedom itself. He questioned how the new terrorism laws would affect the journalists’ ability to protect sources whilst worrying over the threat of facing prosecution for withholding information from the authorities. On 19 March, officers from the GMP Counter Terrorism Unit surprised Malik with a draft production order relating to a book he is writing called Leaving Al Qaid’ah: Inside The Life And Mind Of A British Jihadist, about the life of the former Islamist radical Hassan Butt. “For legal reasons I am not allowed to state the exact nature of the order but I can say that it is wide-ranging,” he said. Malik said he received encouragement from fellow journalists such as Martin Bright from the New Statesman (who in the late Nineties had to defend himself in a similar action) to battle against the draft order. He said that while in Manchester Crown Court, he and his lawyers “discovered that, unlike the well-established provisions ingrained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), schedule five of the Terrorism Act 2000 significantly lowers the protections to journalists who want to maintain the confidentiality of their sources”.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=ACD43EE77CE8CFB4DF04CED4&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Councillor held by Special Branch at Heathrow

A Tower Hamlets councillor was detained at Heathrow airport on Wednesday under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it was reported. Oliur Rahman, who expressed outrage over the incident, was held for more than 30 minutes and quizzed by Special Branch about why he had attended the sixth Cairo international anti-war conference in Egypt. Cllr Rahman reportedly said from Heathrow: “A man standing behind the desk at immigration control asked to see my passport and said he was a police officer. “He asked why I’d been in Cairo, how long I’d been there, what contacts I’d made and where I lived. “I asked what was the purpose of these questions and he said he was from Special Branch and had the right to ask under the Terrorism Act. “So I asked if he was calling me a terrorist. He said ‘no’ and went away and left me for half-an-hour.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=86CA18CD46CEE66F75EFF5CE&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Muslim chaplain’s anger at airport ‘discrimination’

A Muslim Chaplain from Liverpool claims “discriminatory” interrogation is happening on a regular basis at Manchester Airport. Adam Kelwick, from Wavertree, said he was stopped and questioned for two hours on arrival at the airport as he returned from a Middle Eastern business trip on Wednesday, the third time this has happened since the introduction of the Terrorism Act in 2006. He claims officials searched his lap top, phone, asked for his bank account pin number and put a string of questions to him. The chaplain, who carries out charity work in the city to aid social cohesion, claims other friends and colleagues have complained about similar experiences. He said: “Some people I know would rather tolerate the congestion of the airports in London, rather than put up with the unreasonable questioning and discrimination at Manchester. “I was ordered to remove all my items from my baggage piece by piece and was then taken into a small room and asked questions like ‘what is your mother’s date of birth?’ and ‘what school did you go to?’.

Uganda: Local Terrorist Convicted in UK

A Ugandan was among seven men found guilty of involvement in terrorist training activities by a British court on Tuesday. Ugandan-born Yassin Mutegombwa, 23, was sentenced to three years and five months in jail by the Woolwich Crown Court during one of the largest terrorist trials in Britain. A resident of South London, Mutegombwa had pleaded guilty to attending the training camps. Under the UK 2006 Terrorism Act, receiving training in terrorism is illegal. He confessed having undergone weaponry training at Woodland near Matleywood caravan and camping site, Beaulieu, Lyndhurt, near Southampton in June 2006. Mutegombwa and his brother, Hassan, were arrested in September 2006 during Scotland Yard’s anti-terror raids across London. Norman Miwambo reports.