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Facing prison to protect privacy – what others say

Mohammed Rabbani, International Director of CAGE, said:
(charged under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000):
“This should be a moment of pride and celebration for Muslims. There are some members of our community that are not just going to complain, but who are going to take some legal steps which are outside the confined parameters of engagement while maintaining their integrity, humanity, commitment to principle and compassion for others.”

Mohammed Rabbani, International Director of CAGE, said:
“This entire episode boils down to one thing: a password. I’m facing prison due to the existence of a power that has been operating at the UK borders for 17 years now. Using this power, officers can compel a person to surrender their passwords without cause and there’s also no right to remain silent. There is nothing like this anywhere in the Western world.
“It was a split second decision for me. Lawyers, journalists, teachers and others who are employed to serve members of the public can all be stopped and demanded to do the same. They can be coerced into passing over private information on their clients and beneficiaries without being suspected of wrongdoing. I really do think that any professional faced with the same dilemma would do all that they could to protect their clients’ private and personal information.”

Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE, said:
“Rabbani’s courage and principle in these circumstances has been an inspiration to the community. We continue to support him in his efforts to protect the privacy of us all, and to free Muslims from the constant harassment of Schedule 7 at airports.
“At the core of this issue is the protection of crucial evidence of torture, the key to holding high ranking officials accountable for an international crime. This will be a landmark case that will test the rule of law and justice in the ‘War on Terror’.
“I know what it is like to be forced to give your password to the authorities. In Bagram, I was tortured into surrendering my password. My colleague Rabbani was safeguarding vital and sensitive testimony, given to him by a victim of torture. Considering both the US and British Governments have been found complicit and responsible for the torture and abuse of hundreds of individuals, it is perfectly right that Rabbani does everything he can to ensure these crimes are accounted for.”

Gareth Peirce, senior partner at Birnberg Peirce and Partners, said:
“Schedule 7 [3] is an enormous blunderbuss that is over-used and the consequence of its overuse is that it is abusive. It affects almost every Muslim who contemplates travelling. It is not just the increasing numbers of Muslims stopped but that the same people are stopped repeatedly. Once on the system, you are flagged up for life.”

Ibrahim Mohamoud, spokesperson for CAGE, said:
“Statistics show that Schedule 7 stops amount to racial profiling, with 88.4% detained coming from an ethnic minority background. Only five people were arrested out of roughly 20,000 that were stopped last year. Clearly, huge numbers of innocent people are being interrogated and their data confiscated from them. Where is all this data being stored? With whom is it being shared? How does one remove themselves from these databases? These are some of the wider questions that Mr Rabbani wishes to raise.
“Governments should not interfere in the work of human rights defenders, especially those investigating international law violations such as torture. The arrest of Mr Rabbani in this instance and the confiscation of his devices have significantly affected the course of an ongoing and live investigation into torture complicity by a UK ally. We are unable to make any further comment on this currently.”

About CAGE
CAGE is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process. At the heart of its work is a belief that dialogue, conflict resolution and respect for the rule of law are essential for a just society. For more information, go to:
https://cage.ngo/

Read more about it:
CAGE director faces prison to protect privacy
http://londonbangla.com/cage-director-faces-prison-protect-privacy/
Facing prison to protect privacy – Rabbani’s story
http://londonbangla.com/facing-prison-protect-privacy-rabbanis-story/

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