Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of ‘terrorist’


by Sunny
15th September, 2011 at 8:40 am    

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police has paid £20,000 in compensation to Rizwaan Sabir for his wrongful arrest and seven days’ detention under the Terrorism Act 2000 in May 2008.

Mr Sabir – currently a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde researching domestic UK counter-terrorism policy – was arrested after downloading an edited version of the ‘The Al-Qaeda Training Manual’ from a US government website for his postgraduate research as a Masters student at the University of Nottingham.

Sabir subsequently brought proceedings against Nottinghamshire Police for false imprisonment and breaches of the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

He also claimed under the Data Protection Act 1998 regarding false information on Nottinghamshire Police records, including a clear but unfounded assertion that Mr Sabir had been convicted of a terrorist offence, which had led to Mr Sabir being subject to numerous stops and searches.

“For more than 3 years, I have been fighting to clear my name and establish that the police were wrong to arrest me and put me through the tortuous experience I suffered at their hands. I have finally succeeded in doing so, and they have been forced to account for the wrong they did to me.”

“But I am one of the lucky ones. I cannot forget all those other innocent people like me who have suffered at the hands of the police but do not have the chance or means to vindicate their names.”

– he said in a press release sent out last night.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  2. Martijn de Koning

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/d1eZOjgj


  3. Craig Fowlie

    The potential pitfalls of academic terrorism research. Wrongful arrest by over-zealous and misguided cops. http://t.co/7Hf5v19I


  4. James

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  5. Justin B

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  6. Saima Mir

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  7. Police State UK

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  8. tracy e

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  9. christine smith

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  10. Renegade1

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x


  11. Sue Mea Ha

    Rizwaan Sabir was draged out o hs studies a gun point b Nottinghamshire Police he only got 20 grand wht a fecking crock http://t.co/QeQKUNyH


  12. Sam hussain

    Blogged: : Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of 'terrorist' http://t.co/Z3iGKp2x




  1. Kismet Hardy — on 15th September, 2011 at 12:52 pm  

    I’m still writing my cock-forsaken novel (for anyone interested it got accepted when I wrote the magic three chapters several blue moons ago) and it’s still not sodding finished because, laziness aside, seeing as I still bear the first name Muhammad, I’m flipping terrified my work-place or the home I share with my children will be raided every time I research eshelon triggering words like ‘how to make a bomb’

  2. Dr Paul — on 15th September, 2011 at 2:01 pm  

    I had the dubious pleasure of reading through Mein Kampf when I was studying; I guess I was lucky not to have been hauled off by the Old Bill on suspicion of wanting to go and invade Poland.

    Seriously, this is a disgraceful affair. The University administration, which grassed him up to the police in the first place, has a lot to answer for as well.

  3. The British Asian Blog — on 15th September, 2011 at 4:45 pm  

    I guess justice has been done.

  4. Sarah AB — on 15th September, 2011 at 5:36 pm  

    He made some good points on the Today programme this morning.

    When I was researching a book a while back (it was a chapter on the cultural connotations of Actaeon) I found myself consulting a website which advocated bestiality as a legitimate activity.

  5. Optimist — on 15th September, 2011 at 6:15 pm  

    Two years ago they had promised us ‘some resources should be devoted to the growing threat of far-right terror plots.’

    Earlier this month Neil Lewington, 44, a white supremacist from Reading, was jailed for being found in possession of explosives as he was about to board a train.

    Lewington, a fascist loner who hated Asians, regularly visited two white supremacist websites – Combat 18, a British neo-Nazi group, and a website for the Ku Klux Klan.

    According to Dr Matthew Feldman, an expert in far-right extremism who gave evidence at Lewington’s trial, the authorities were fortunate to arrest him before he took any drastic action.

    “I have every reason to believe this person has posed a very serious threat to public order in this country,” he told File on 4.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8266933.stm

    What we got was prevent.

    Prevent will address all forms of terrorism, including the extreme right wing. However, it is clear that Prevent work must be targeted against those forms of terrorism that pose the greatest risk to our national security. Currently, the greatest threat comes from Al Qa’ida, its affiliates and like-minded groups

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/counter-terrorism/prevent/prevent-strategy/

    Fine words but strategy tackling far-right extremists is dismissed in a few paragraphs.

    So, still its likely that any Muslim students researching anything ‘suspecious’ would become ‘terror suspects’, while any white supremacist doing the same may be ignored!

  6. jamal — on 15th September, 2011 at 10:49 pm  

    20k for messing up 3 years of this guy’s life the police got of lightly.

    But the clearing his name was the main objective and at least he got that.

  7. Mam — on 16th September, 2011 at 12:07 am  

    His name isn’t cleared because he settled out of court. Can’t blame him for settling though.

    Notts Police have been quite bullish about it:

    “A spokesman for Notts Police said: “We stand by the fact that the arrest, detention and obtaining of a warrant of further detention were all perfectly legal, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances as they were in 2008.

    “The matter was settled without admission of liability save that the force admitted that one brief search of Mr Sabir and his vehicle carried out in February 2010 was the result of a mistaken belief on the part of officers involved.

    “This was admitted in November 2010 and the force apologises for this search. We have also agreed to amend some records held on Mr Sabir to give them greater clarity.”

    http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Terror-case-payout/story-13333776-detail/story.html

  8. douglas clark — on 16th September, 2011 at 12:42 pm  

    It is uttely ridiculous that the Notts Police were ever involved in this in the first place. I am pleased he got recompense but frankly Nottingham University are getting off very lightly over all of this.

  9. Just Visiting — on 16th September, 2011 at 8:42 pm  

    Optimist:

    > So, still its likely that any Muslim students researching anything ‘suspecious’ would become ‘terror suspects’, while any white supremacist doing the same may be ignored!

    Well, if you compare the number of people killed in this country by white supremacists, and those by Islamists: is it not correct to focus attention on whichever is the bigger threat?

    JV

  10. Sajn — on 16th September, 2011 at 10:59 pm  

    Just Visiting can you provide the numbers please? I mean apart from the July 7th terrorist attacks I cannot recall any other instance of people being killed by “Islamic” terrorists whereas the number of attacks by white supremacists goes back years.

  11. Just Visiting — on 17th September, 2011 at 12:36 pm  

    Sajn

    I don’t understand your logic in saying ‘apart from JUly 7th’

    Why dont those deaths count?

    With just 77 it’s self evident that Islamic terrorism has killed more.

    It’s up to you to dig out your own numbers if you suggest otherwise.

    And of course – if we take global terrorism – it’s also true that (whether the perpertrators understood or mis-understood) Islamic inspired terrorism is the No. 1. Just do a little google own to see that in the last week or so Sweden caught 4 such planning an attack, and Germany threw out a Iman who advocated them. It’s like that most weeks.

  12. Just Visiting — on 17th September, 2011 at 12:38 pm  

    Sajn – when I say more of course, I mean ‘more in the last 10 or 20 or 30 years’ – I don’t mean in all history!
    Obviously Islamic inspired terrorism has only reached these shores relatively recently; so if you go far back enough in time, you could show that more people died from choking on lollipops or something!

  13. douglas clark — on 18th September, 2011 at 1:17 pm  

    JV,

    I’d have thought that the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland killed a good few folk. According to Wiki 7/7 killed 52 people – we’ll exclude the bombers.

    Northern Ireland had a far higher death toll, albeit it was spread over a number of atrocities and years.

    The statistics are here:

    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/troubles/major_killings.html

    You can argue it any way you want but that is pretty horrific. Oh! And current and a heck of a lot worse.

    So Kojak, stick your lollipop where the sun don’t shine.

  14. douglas clark — on 18th September, 2011 at 1:34 pm  

    I’d be interested in an update on the position of Dr Thornton.

    I was incredibly impressed with this article, which just gets worse and worse. I was astonished at the self serving careerism of top dogs at Nottingham University.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/54150076/Radicalisation-at-Universities-or-Radicalisation-by-Universities-How-a-Students-Use-of-a-Library-Book-Became-a-Major-Islamist-Plot

    Warning it is gripping, but it is also very long. Get back to me if you’ve read all of it.

    Perhaps not everyone has lost their damned minds.

  15. Billy — on 19th September, 2011 at 6:14 am  

    Why wasn’t he studying in Riyadh or Khartoum?

    I wonder how much this talented alien has cost the U.K. taxpayer since he first arrived in Blighty.

    He ought to send the 20,000 quid to the U.K. treasury as a small token of gratitude for the much larger sum he has cost those of us who have paid our taxes.

  16. damon — on 19th September, 2011 at 11:31 am  

    So was he just a victim of police heavy-handedness?
    Once they make arrests, it does take them some days to get their act together. I heard they just arrested another seven people in Birmingham.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14969893

    What the police are not very good at I think, is knowing how to deal with political activists who actually aren’t breaking the law – but who’s behavior is somewhat unusual. As people in Britain who were against the UK policy in Northern Ireland found out too when they would travel to Ireland to ”show solidarity” with Irish Republicans there.

    For doing that, a person’s name would definitely go on a Special Branch file. It’s pretty inevitable really.

    £20,000 for six days isn’t bad btw.

  17. damon — on 19th September, 2011 at 7:24 pm  

    Reading about this case I’m not sure if the police are malicious or just incompetent. It’s often been alleged that it’s the former. They’re arresting dozens of people every year, and releasing many or most without charge.
    They’re doing the same in the USA.
    I really don’t know how they could do things that differently though, as even a preliminary arrest and trawl through someone’s computer takes several days, and they do that to EDL people arrested for fighting.

    I have the idea that a police investigation in an area like this is a bit like the proverbial super tanker ship that takes twenty miles to stop and turn around.

    Interesting reading Rizwaan Sabir’s Guardian pieces though.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/rizwaansabir

    And Hicham Yezza’s Ceasefire Magazine.
    Trying to deport him so quickly after they were released from this wrongful arrest is the most shameful aspect IMO.

  18. Don — on 19th September, 2011 at 7:29 pm  

    Billy,

    If he is not a UK national then he has probably paid pretty steeply for his post-grad courses. I think Strathclyde charge around £12,000 a year tution for non-EU nationals. Plus living costs.

    Or do you have knowledge that the British tax-payer covered that?

    Damon,

    A week in the slammer and three years of being treated as a terrorist suspect (think about what that entails). Twenty grand seems modest. I would expect at least that.

  19. damon — on 19th September, 2011 at 8:29 pm  

    Don, having just watched him on this youtube, I don’t think he was really that worried after he got over the initial shock of being arrested.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRVGOD0fQlM

    If you haven’t done anything any more suspicious than what he did, then even the police being absolute tits shouldn’t be too much of a concern. The alarm caused to family members is the worst aspect of it I’d say. Or for the other guy who was facing deportation.

    He even had the police admitting after a few days that they should have ”paddled back” after 24 hours when they reasilsed that there wasn’t anything to the case. That he was aware enough and confident enough to then refuse to answer their questions must mean that he wasn’t too cowed.
    It was the ”twenty computers and three mobile phones” that the police felt that they ”had to” follow up on that is the real story here IMO. And maybe where the police have to be forced to back down from their fishing expeditions just because they have access to something like a computer.

    I watched that youtube feeling sympathy for him pretty much, then in another video on that page I saw he was sitting next to Moazzam Begg at that meeting. Hmmmm.

  20. Don — on 19th September, 2011 at 9:13 pm  

    even a preliminary arrest and trawl through someone’s computer takes several days, and they do that to EDL people arrested for fighting.

    Yes, whatever the question let us never forget how badly the EDL are being treated.

    You get nicked for anything remotely serious (or considered as such) and the law will be going through your hard drives, e-mails, mobile phone records and whatever else it is technophiles do these days. That’s how it is.

    The EDL people were arrested for fighting? What, bare-knuckle in a car-park or politically motivated violence? Either way, the law is going to want to know how that was organised. Do you seriously have a problem with that? They do the same thing if you are busted for dog-fighting.

    Similarly, if the law was suspicious of Mr Sabir then by all means check out his background. That’s fair enough. Bt if they realised, as you say, within 24 hours that here was no case, then pissing him around for three years makes £20,000 about fair.

    Should the fact that he was sufficiently intelligent, educated and aware to remain composed be taken into account in deciding damages? Interesting question, perhaps it was. Had he suffered an emotional collapse they might have awarded more. I dunno.

    Hmmmm.

    Please don’t do that. Along with ‘lol’ (at one’s own comment) and ‘Um…’ (before some incredibly misjudged patronisation), ‘Hmmmmm’ is one of the most annoying things to do on the internet. Obviously, that’s just an opinion.

    If you have a point, speak plainly. If not, say nothing. ‘Hmmmm’ is mere chin-stroking and has no place in civilised discourse.

  21. damon — on 19th September, 2011 at 10:23 pm  

    Yes, whatever the question let us never forget how badly the EDL are being treated.

    I don’t know where you got that from, I couldn’t give a stuff about the EDL ‘particularly’. I raised it because going through computers is a reason given for Rizwaan Sabir’s further detention once it was realised there wasn’t much to his initial arrest. According to him in that youtube anyway.
    And I think there need to be some tough guidelines about what happens with arrests and computers, that’s all.
    This is probably what Jai has called my concern trolling.

    The EDL guy who got found out to be ”a pedophile” was arrested for public disorder at one of their marches. Why the police then searched his home and computer I don’t know.
    They probably looked at Rizwaan Sabir’s computers and saw all kinds of ”jucy stuff” too and just didn’t know when to stop. ”Just a few more hours guv” is probably the request that comes from the police computer analysts. Particularly when they keep coming up with intriguing on-line history.
    What if a person has viewed Al Qaeda jihadi videos from Iraq?
    The police need to be told that that’s nothing really. Just another version of porn. Maybe it’s here that the police aren’t trained enough and sophisticated enough.

    As for your last point …. OK.
    There is something very dodgy about Moazzam Begg IMO, how’s that?
    That is is for another discussion perhaps, but it’s clear that he supports ”freedom struggles” against imperialism and thinks anyone arrested in Afghanistan is some prisoner of conscience or something. And that Rizwaan Sabir was very keen to contact him after his release.

  22. Don — on 20th September, 2011 at 12:17 am  

    What if a person has viewed Al Qaeda jihadi videos from Iraq?
    The police need to be told that that’s nothing really. Just another version of porn.

    Not really. That is not what we are talking about. This is someone accessing basic texts to complete a doctorate.

    What if?

  23. damon — on 20th September, 2011 at 1:57 am  

    What if?

    I don’t trust the police on any of this, and it may well be pot luck how you get treated. But ”basic texts to complete a doctorate” might look pretty similar to someone who has downloaded Al-Qaeda jihadi videos. What’s really the difference? There isn’t much, but I don’t think that either should be criminalised. You could say anything as some kind of excuse or cover story if you were up to no good though.

    None of this is ideal …. and yet the police will get slammed if they miss things too.

  24. Kismet Hardy — on 20th September, 2011 at 11:40 am  

    Doesn’t it whiff of entrapment that the document was downloaded from a US government website?!

  25. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2011 at 12:09 pm  

    I really am struggling to see the Police or University perspective on any of this. The guy was doing a Masters Degree in counter terrorism at Nottingham University. How, exactly, is he suppposed to do that without looking at ‘dodgy’ material? Material that was available both in the University Library and from the US Library of Congress web-site?

    What if anyone here decided that they were curious about what he had looked at and accessed the article on the US site? Are we so over-policed that each and every one of us can expect a visit from the police, and if so, why?

    “Security theatre” seems to me to express this best.

    It certainly isn’t about keeping us safe. If they had genuine suspicions they would have put him under surveillance, rather than this kack handed approach.

  26. Refresh — on 20th September, 2011 at 3:49 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    Thanks for your link to Dr Thornton’s report, very interesting. Well worth reading.

    Moving on to the general point. Nottingham police has acknowledged they were at fault, I say primarily because they did not take responsibility even though they were the ones taking the action – search, arrest, detention etc. They were in auto-pilot mode.

    Now it is for the University to be held to account. All the material concerned was freely available and relevant study material.

    The best way to achieve this is to sue the named individuals for defamation. Those who make allegations about others should also be held to account, not least for wasting police time.

  27. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2011 at 10:04 pm  

    Refresh,

    You are welcome.

    You say:

    Those who make allegations about others should also be held to account, not least for wasting police time.

    I couldn’t agree more with you on that, and indeed the rest of your comments.

    Though we seem to be through the looking glass here.

    I think, and I’d value your opinion, that too many people are trying to be ‘clever’ with terrorist legislation in order to pursue personal agendas. It is horribly reminiscent of the play ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller. Are we really back there with our hypocrisy?

    I fear we are.

  28. Refresh — on 20th September, 2011 at 11:51 pm  

    Douglas Clark,

    One line I removed from my #26, before submitting, referenced Salem and ducking ponds.

    ‘The episode is one of the most famous cases of mass hysteria, and has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, lapses in due process, and local governmental intrusion on individual liberties.*’

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials

    * Gretchen, A. (2009), The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America, University of Chicago Press

    The mass hysteria in this case is being generated by political rhetoric graphically amplified by partners in the media which in turn assisted others to act criminally, who suspend all sense of morality relying only on their positions of power to emphasise their integrity. In a very similar way the recent riots drew normally law-abiding passers-by into looting.

  29. Refresh — on 21st September, 2011 at 12:18 am  

    I may be being unfair to the looters.

  30. fugstar — on 21st September, 2011 at 12:48 am  

    I wonder what this means for the Babar Ahmed and Talha Ahsan cases. I hope they get trials in the uk, having had so many years of their lives wasted.

  31. douglas clark — on 21st September, 2011 at 7:46 am  

    Refresh @ 28,

    One line I removed from my #26, before submitting, referenced Salem and ducking ponds.

    Now that is a strange, and interesting, co-incidence.

    Slightly off topic, it certainly seems to me that the desire to extend novel legislation beyond it’s original purpose or scope is seen as a noble endevour in some circles. Parliament ought to review all legislation to stop this sort of mission creep, by creeps.

  32. douglas clark — on 21st September, 2011 at 8:20 am  

    Ré fugstars post @ 30.

    There is a petition you can sign for Babar Ahmed. You can read about it here:

    http://www.freebabarahmad.com/

  33. damon — on 21st September, 2011 at 11:39 am  

    Did Babar Ahmed run ‘Azzam.com’ or not?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1823045.stm

    If he did then it’s not surprising he got himself in trouble.

  34. Grab me a tissue — on 21st September, 2011 at 4:01 pm  

    poor poor soul. spare a tear for the tens of thousands killed by Jihadis in the name of Allah once in a while too…..will they be getting any compensation from the Saudis???

  35. douglas clark — on 21st September, 2011 at 8:12 pm  

    grab me a tissue,

    You’ll need to spell out your objections / comments a bit better than that.

    On the specific issue of Rizwaan Sabir have you anything to say?

  36. fugstar — on 23rd September, 2011 at 9:55 am  

    32.

    Yes i know, thanks for posting the link. I do feel sad that the 100k threshold mark is so far away. Its not just babar ahmad’s case, but Talha Ahsan too who falls into the same category of injustice-making from our resident powers.

    Talha has asperger syndrome, which for me makes this all the more cruel.

    http://freetalha.org/

    The destruction of peoples lives and their family’s lives in this way is barbaric.

  37. douglas clark — on 23rd September, 2011 at 10:09 am  

    fugstar @ 36,

    Apologies, I meant it as a wake up call for other Picklers, not you :-(

    As you may have gathered I am not at all happy with the idea of passing citizens over to the US. Call me old fashioned but this strikes me as force majeure as US foreign policy. I am sick and tired of it. Certainly we could extradite people on the basis of evidence, but to extradite on the basis of a semi similar legal system with a death penalty? It doesn’t work for me.

    I am more than a little surprised that it works under the auspices of the European Court of Human Rights, but that out’s me as no-ones lawyer.

  38. douglas clark — on 23rd September, 2011 at 10:51 am  

    Grab me a tissue @ 34,

    poor poor soul. spare a tear for the tens of thousands killed by Jihadis in the name of Allah once in a while too…..will they be getting any compensation from the Saudis???

    Well I shan’t be doing that. I have the general impression that you wouldn’t cry into a tissue if your life depended on it.

    I’t also seems that lots of folk were killed in the name of the Christian God?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

    Fuck you….

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