1st October 2014
The Muslim Council of Britain today joined calls for an urgent investigation relating to the circumstances of Moazzam Begg’s detention and subsequent release. Mr Begg was arrested in February 2014, thus spending eight months in pre-trial detention.
According to media reports, the charges related to “attending a terrorist training camp in Syria between 9 October 2012 and 9 April 2013”, to which he was going to make a not-guilty submission. The CPS has now indicated that it lacked evidence for a prosecution.
Clearly there are now questions to be asked as to why he was arrested in the first place, and equally importantly, whether the current imprecise definition of ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ is leading to miscarriages of justice.
That concern is all the more urgent following the Home Secretary’s speech yesterday on tackling terrorism and extremism, once again highlighting the problems with our current counter-terrorism policies.
For the past few months, British Muslims have loudly and clearly spoken out against terrorist acts. Moreover we have said time and time again, that the best way to tackle extremism is to work with Muslim communities and have faith in our very British values of freedom, liberty and democracy. This means robust, intelligence-led policing that works with communities every step of the way and ensures full judicial oversight of the entire process. We should be proud of our commitment to due process, our tradition of free speech and anything that undermines them will only play into the hands of violent extremists.
Today is a good day for British justice and the upholding of the rule of law in this case. What remains deplorable is the inclination of some of our political leaders to lapse into populist rhetoric when there are terrorism-related arrests, without waiting for due process.[ends]
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330 London E1 2WJ
Tel: 0845 26 26 786 Fax: 0207 247 7079
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