4 out of 10 Pakistani national students, Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan, Tariq Ur Rehman and Abid Naseer who are all currently detained at Manchester prison for deportation on national security grounds have lodged their bail applications to the SIAC (Commission) with effectfrom 5 May.
Special Immigration Appeals Commission’ which was set up in 1999 under an Act of Parliament is a specialist tribunal adjudicating appeals where a person is considered to be a threat to national security of the country, will hear their appeals and bails. Tribunal consists of a Senior High Court Judge, one Immigration Judge as a member and one person from KPMG group having experience of dealing with security matters & evidence. Its proceedings are conducted in half camera and half public. In the camera proceedings a Special Advocate is appointed by the Govt to protect the interest of the accused in secret session where all the secret evidence is presented and analysed. It’s a lengthy and a time consuming process and require diligence and hard work if the accused wishes to clear their names.
Appellants are are being deported on grounds of posing threat to national security of UK as being concerned in ‘islamic extremist activities’ and for the reason that they were investigated under terrorism Act 2000 since 8 april 2009. Though no charges were brought under criminal proceedings and on 21 April, they were released from criminal invetigation to UK Border Agency who initiated immigration deportation proceedings.
Bail applications are lodged on the grounds that:
- That allegation of involving ‘Islamic extremist activity’ is vague and too farfetched and requires a definition by courts as to what is classed as ‘Extremist activity’ as to some reading prayer, keeping a beard, going on Blogs, sharing flat, arranging meals could be an Islamic extremist activity if all of them belong to same faith and or geographical area. To the appellants it’s stereotyping prejudicial and islamophobia. Appellants feel that if there has been any extreme element of suspicion and evidence, they would have been charged and brought before a court of law to face trial. However, using Immigration process seems an ‘eye wash’ to divert attention from ‘foiling a plot’ claims and their ‘innocence’.
- That imprisonment in Category ‘A’ when the above are facing a deportation under Immigration laws is a clear breach of Art 3 ECHR ‘and amounts to ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ where the process to meet the lawyers is lengthy and intimidating, and those detained have no free access to inform their families of their well being and discuss freely about their defence with their lawyers. Detained appellants feel that they are in continued detention because of their Pakistani nationality as people with different nationalities have been released.
- That all are ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and must be freed at least to fight their deportation appeals freely relying on Article 5 of ECHR which says that , “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law’:
- That the appellants rely on Departmental Policy on detention – and departmental instructions to home office in respect of detention which warrants reconsideration in the light of Mr. Justice Laws (as he then was) remarks in the case of Wasfi Suleiman Mahmood 1995 Imm AR 311. Mr Justice Laws remarked that the right to liberty is a prized and fundamental right not only under the convention but also under English Common law. The principles to be found in the Convention under Article 5 ECHR generally mirrors those that already exist in the English Common law. Detention should not be arbitrary. Detention should not have an arbitrary effect. Detention should not be imposed in bad faith. It should be proportional. It should serve some proper purpose. It is not for me to stray into the area of policy or politics when considering what purpose should be. The purpose is already set out in the Secretary of State’s own policy on detention, which is contained in departmental instructions to immigration officers in asylum cases first issued in 1991 and subsequently revised in 1994. The policy is in short, to grant temporary admission/release whenever possible and to authorize detention only when there is no alternative. The aim is to free detention space for all those who have shown a real disregard for the immigration laws and who we expect to remove within a realistic timetable.”
- That appellants claim that detention should not be arbitrary and detention should only be authorized if no alternate is available, and an alternate is available whilst their appeals are pending, and Appellants are willing to report at local Police Station, stay as desired at a nominated address, agree to wear a Tag and or curfew with limited internet and telephonic access.
All 4 students are kept in highly secure ‘category A’ at Manchester prison on the orders of UK Border Agency. Their detention is causing enormous difficulties in preparing for defence in this highly sensitive case, where media has already run stories when all were incommunicado.
Defence team has urged the Pakistani Govt to accelerate diplomatic efforts to seek a facility for detainees for a telephone access to their legal team, family and consulate and for their freedom so that they could to continue their studies and fight their appeals freely.
Barristers Mr. Sibghat ullah Kadri QC, Mr. Rashid, Mr. John Nicholson, Mr. George Brown will argue the bail applications before SIAC upon instructions of Amjad Malik Solicitors.