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Tribunal rules Raed Salah detention "entirely unnecessary"

Tribunal rules Raed Salah detention "entirely unnecessary"

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday April 10 2012

The Guardian and Daily Telegraph have both covered the ruling by the Upper Immigration Tribunal on the deportation case of Sheikh Raed Salah.

The Tribunal, whose ruling was made public on Saturday, stated that the Home Secretary’s actions had been “entirely unnecessary” and that she had “acted under a misapprehension as to the facts”.

From the Guardian:

“Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was held in June last year on the orders of Theresa May after he flew into Britain despite being banned from entering the country.

“After launching a legal battle against the moves to expel him, he received a letter at the weekend from the Upper Immigration Tribunal stating that the decision to detain him appeared to have been “entirely unnecessary” and that his appeal had succeeded “on all grounds”.

“Salah, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship whose legal team claimed he had not been aware of the ban, came to the UK for a speaking tour at the invitation of London-based Middle East Monitor (Memo), but was detained three days later after May served a deportation notice saying his presence in the UK was “not conducive to the public good”.

“The ruling of the immigration tribunal, which was made known on Saturday, states that May “acted under a misapprehension as to the facts” and was “misled” in relation to a poem written by Salah.

“It also decided she took “irrelevant factors” into account in relation to indictments against Salah, and a conviction in Israel in 2003 over charges that his organisation funnelled funds to a banned charity in Gaza.

“The ruling stated: “We have no difficulty in concluding that the Secretary of State’s decision has not been shown to be proportionate to the need to preserve community harmony or protect the United Kingdom from the dangers to which the policy refers. On the contrary, the position is that it appears to have been entirely unnecessary to achieve that purpose. lt follows that as was as a disproportionate interference with the appellant’s Convention rights, the human rights grounds are made out.”

“May has said in the past the government excluded people such as Salah because it wanted to take action early “rather than simply waiting until people have gone down the route of violent extremism”.

“Emails that emerged in the course of legal proceedings indicate a measure of the haste with which May’s office moved to exclude Salah.

“Just 17 minutes after receiving a report on him, prepared by the Community Security Trust, a UK charity that monitors antisemitism, Faye Johnson, private secretary to the home secretary, emailed about a parliamentary event Salah was due to attend.

“”Is there anything that we can do to prevent him from attending (eg could we exclude him on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour?)” she wrote. The CST’s report said Salah’s record of provocative statements carried a risk that his presence in the UK could have “a radicalising impact” on his audiences.

“The immigration tribunal had been told that the home secretary acted on information provided to the government by the CST and the Jewish Board of Deputies.

“In its ruling, it said that “it is of concern” that May apparently did not consult any Muslim or Palestinian organisations. It noted the evidence of Robert Lambert, a retired head of the Metropolitan police’s Muslim Contact Unit, and David Miller, a sociology professor from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland who set up the Spinwatch site, “that whereas the CST has done invaluable work in identifying threats to the Jewish community in the UK from the far right such as the British National party (BNP), it failed to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and therefore gives an unbalanced perspective…””

A Guardian editorial of July 2011, the month Sheikh Raed Salah’s nightmare began, asked “Should Britain be taking lessons from Israel on incitement?”

In light of the Tribunal’s ruling, one may well ask whether the Government should be taking lessons on judging the legitimacy of exclusion bans from the CST?

UPDATE: David Hearst has written an article in the Guardian’s Comment is Free in which he questions the role of the CST in straying from the “legitimate and necessary pursuit of anti-Semites” and being drawn“into the snake pit of the Arab-Israeli conflict”. You can read the article here.

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