International Affairs

UK Lawyers raised ‘strip search’ issue of Pak Students with British Premier

Association of Pakistani Lawyers a team of Pakistani origin lawyers, Solicitors, Barristers, Judges in UK jointly has raised ‘strip search’ issue of Pak Students detained at Manchester prison with British Premier Gordon Brown, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Governor of Manchester prison.

APL in their 5 May communiqué to British Prime Minister has written that :

“On 8 April 2009, Manchester based police Officers arrested 12 men in parallel raids at 10 addresses across Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe, Lancashire. Operation Pathway was rushed into action early on Wednesday evening following accidental breach of security by a Govt official. Twelve men were arrested in the north west of England. Ten of those arrested are Pakistan-born nationals on student visas and one is a UK-born British national. Prime Minister issued a statement after those arrests with a hope to have intercepted a big gang. Nothing concrete came to light and those detained were not charged and are being deported on ‘posing threat to national security’ and are adjudged to be concerned in ‘international Islamic extremist’ activity in UK. All 10 are appealing the decision. During defence lawyers meetings dated 28 April 2009, and 5th of May 2009 with the detainees in Manchester prison, it was complained to them that so far they have not communicated with their families to update them of their well being and as to what has gone on with them. Secondly a few has complained that each time they come for legal visit, they are strip searched before seeing a solicitor and after seeing their defence team and or consulate access. Finally they are kept in category ‘A’ in Manchester prison which is r3eserved for highly dangerous criminals who are facing prison sentence upon conviction and or under trial. APL requested the Prime Minister to intervene and support our charter of demand”:

APL reiterated, that Pakistani community on the whole condemn terrorism in any form or shape and firmly believe in civil and political emancipation of people by protecting its own heritage and culture, and we seek international community’s cooperation to acknowledge such drive of the community, and allow such treatment which is befitting to its role.. And demanded in the letter in the following terms:

“Resolution of Demand:

  1. Govt. of Great Britain must allow the detained Pakistani students to have access to family member(s) to confirm their arrest and well being through a phone call, supervised and or unsupervised;
  2. Govt. of Great Britain must respect those detainee’s religious needs as protected by Art 9,10 and 14 of ECHR and they are only searched through electronic and orthodox means. It disturbs the detainees if they are strip searched especially if physical search is made by females as being ‘naked’ in front of females is considered to be un Islamic by those who are detained;
  3. A few students have their final exams and they wish to honourable either finish their studies and or return honourably, we submit that every opportunity must be afforded for them to complete their education and equal opportunity to fight their deportation as treasury teams with all the money from public purse will be fighting for their deportation, so at least they must be allowed to fight their appeals freely;
  4. Finally as they have not been charged, and are facing administrative decision of deportation subject to appeal , therefore it is our joint suggestion that they be moved to either an immigration detention and or accommodation centre and or they are considered for bail with residence, reporting, curfew, electronic monitoring tag, and other reasonable conditions. Their detention in Category A is prima facie ‘harsh treatment’ considering CPS is not pressing for any charges.

APL hoped that British Prime Minister will look into this matter as a matter of extreme urgency and our representations are given due weight in the interest of public in order to promote rule of law, justice for the minority community in UK

About the author

Amjad Malik

Amjad Malik, Solicitor–Advocate of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, life member of SCBA of Pakistan, a specialist in immigration and Human Rights Law. He is a member of Law Society’s Immigration Law Committee’, he was awarded ‘Young Human Rights Lawyer Award’ for the year 2000. In the year 2001,Young Pro Bono Solicitor’s Group also named him for the national ‘Young Pro Bono Solicitor Award’. On 28 February 2007 he was awarded by (UICF) United International Community Forum (UK) in recognition to his outstanding professional contribution towards service of Asian and British community in role model capacity where Chief guest was Mrs. Cherrie Blair. He sits on ‘UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Pro Bono Lawyer’s Panel.’ He is UK representative on young lawyer committee of the International Bar Association & UK Director of Human Rights Foundation (USA) and is a current Vice chair of ‘Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK)’.

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