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May 26, 2011
Muslims warned more wrongful arrests
The Muslim News has castigated the first report by the Government's new reviewer of terror legislation David Anderson for suggesting more innocent Muslims face wrongful arrests after clearing the police over the detention of six street cleaners during the Pope’s visit to London last September.
“He gave the police a clean bill of health even though he admitted there was 'no reason to believe, with the benefit of hindsight, that any of the arrested men was involved in a plot to kill the Pope or indeed that any such plot existed',” the monthly says it in latest editorial.
After reviewing the case, David Anderson concluded that CO15 Counter-Terrorism Command used the powers of arrest, search and seizure “lawfully and appropriately” under the Terrorism Act 2000 (TA2000).
“There will be future temptations to use the TA 2000 powers in relation to individuals as to whom the necessary reasonable suspicions do not exist, particularly in the context of international high-profile events such as the London Olympics.” he goes on to warn.
“Anderson suggests that there could be more cases of wrongful arrests of innocent suspects, which will be equally acceptable, even though the only lawful basis for a Section 41 arrest is reasonable suspicion,” The Muslim News says.
“What ‘reasonable suspicion’ do police need to arrest terrorist suspects? The answer is apparently none or very little,” it questions.
The editorial says that the new reviewer's first report does “not give comfort to Muslims as Anderson says the police did nothing wrong as the arrest of the innocent Muslims was according to the law.”
“If this was lawful, then what would be unlawful?” it asks. “Constant vigilance is required to ensure that the legal boundaries of those powers are respected, as they were in this case,” Anderson cautioned but “Where is this boundary?”
“This is outrageous. What is of concern is that no human rights group has even criticised Anderson’s implication that more innocent Muslims will be arrested in future. What kind of message are we sending to Muslims? That they are second class citizens and their basic civil rights are not protected?”
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