Police pay £20,000 damages to student following seven day detention
Categories: Latest News
Thursday September 15 2011
|The Guardian today reports on the £20,000 compensation, cover of legal fees and apology given to Rizwaan Sabir, formerly studying terrorist tactics at Nottingham University, who was arrested and detained after his university found an Al-Qaida training manual on an administrator’s computer.
From The Guardian:
“Sabir had asked the administrator, Hisham Yezza, to print out the 140-page manual as they were collaborating on research. The university said it called the police after efforts to contact Yezza failed as it felt compelled to act by its duty of care to staff and students. However, Sabir and Yezza dispute this version of events.
“As soon as he was made aware of the situation, one of Sabir’s supervisors confirmed that the manual – which he had downloaded from a US government website and which can be bought at WH Smith – was relevant to his research.”
Sabir’s legal team put forward a case against Nottinghamshire Police for false imprisonment, breaches of the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Human Rights act 1998, as well as a claim under the Data Protection Act 1998 after lawyers discovered that the police had an intelligence file on Sabir containing false information on him and which falsely claimed that he had been convicted of a terrorist offence.
In response to the settlement, Sabir has stated that “… we can say proudly that I have proved to many, many people who may have suspected that I was a terrorist that I am actually innocent and always have been,”
“It shows and it proves that [the police] were wrong to have behaved the way they did. They were wrong to put me through the torturous experience they did and they have finally accepted that.”
Sabir is now a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde, doing research on domestic UK counter-terrorism policy, and said that his experiences have given him a deeper understanding of his field of research.
Sabir’s solicitor, Michael Oswald, “said the case showed how the so-called “war on terror” had perverted the rule of law over recent years.
“Clearly, the police have a difficult and important job to do in their counter-terrorism role, however, they must nonetheless act within the law and must be held to account when they do not”.
“This result is nothing more than the clear vindication that he is entitled to.”
However, Nottinghamshire police have stated that their actions were “perfectly legal, proportionate and necessary”.
In May of this year, five men were released without charge after being arrested after they allegedly took photographs of the Sellafield nuclear site.
The events come as the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights recently published a report looking into police powers of stop and search under the terrorism act to address the risk of arbitrary use of power under current guidelines and the possible breach of human rights.