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May 12, 2002

Muslim lawyers to take action against Met Police


The Muslim Lawyers Committee ["MLC"] are considering launching individual actions against the Metropolitan Police because of the unacceptable conduct of Police Officers against Muslims and or people they identified as Muslims .In addition to claims being processed for individual claims for compensation the MLC will also determine the viability of an action under the Human Rights Act 1998 and/or The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.

The MLC had observers on the ground and were able to prevent the wrongful arrests of several Muslims and allow the free movement of others who were either prevented from entering or leaving the area cordoned off for the counter demonstration. The MLC have had contact with various individuals and have received unconfirmed reports of incidents involving:

use of excessive force by police officers against Muslims

wrongful detention of Muslims engaged in lawful activity

failure to prevent assaults against Muslims by the Community services trust ["CST"] officials

failure to arrest individuals who assaulted Muslims

racist comments/abuse by police officers

racist targeting of Muslims

assaults and false imprisonment of Muslims

wrongful arrests of Muslims

intimidation of Muslims women by CST officials

biased conduct in allowing Jewish activists free access to the counter demo but preventing any Muslims from approaching Trafalgar Square where the pro-Israeli rally took place

The Muslims targeted for the above actions were exercising their lawful right to protest. The counter demonstration was peaceful inspite of provocation by Jewish activists who attempted to stir up problems. The MLC commends all the Muslims who attended and exercised their rights of expression for their good behaviour. It is unfortunate that the Met police officers behaved in a totally unacceptable manner.

The MLC calls on all eye witnesses to make contact with MLC designated lawyers to provide statements so that appropriate legal redress can be obtained by court action. All individuals will receive free legal advice and there after be assessed to determine eligibility for legal aid.

We request that all those who filmed or photographed the event please come forward with this evidence.

The collection of evidence is being co-ordinated with Muslim News who have already reported and complained to the Met Police about the general conduct of officers and the treatment of one of its reporters and other Muslim journalists.

We urge all Muslims to act expeditiously in order to ensure that the actions of the police are properly challenged. Otherwise the Metropolitan Police Commissioner will be unable to discipline or launch an enquiry into the conduct of individual police officers or commanders in charge on the day. The same problems could therefore arise at the rally planned on 18th May in support of Palestinians.

Please e-mail contact numbers or further details or to send your statement. We will forward your statement etc to the MLC. We will treat all information in confidence.

For further information contact us on 020 8863 8586 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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