Justice for Habib Ullah campaign


by Sunny
1st September, 2008 at 3:58 am    

Habib ‘Paapu’ Ullah died on Thursday 3rd July 2008 during a stop and search by Police Officers on a vehicle in a car park in High Wycombe at approximately 7.15pm. He was 39 years old and leaves behind a young family.

A group of friends have set up a campaign to raise awareness of his death in custody. On the Facebook page, they say:

We are concerned how a man can die in the process of being arrested and how he came to have breathing difficulties. There is an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation taking place into his death.

The release of the IPCC investigation is here. There was a peaceful protest about this last week. According to their campaign blog, five police officers are now under investiation by the IPCC. If you can, spread the word. I’ll bring updates when they come in.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Net Campaigns






31 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. Andrew — on 1st September, 2008 at 7:10 am  

    According to the interim IPCC update, he died because he swallowed a package which lodged in his windpipe. Given the fact that the police had intelligence that he was connected with dealing in class A drugs and there was drug paraphernalia in the car, I think we can probably guess more or less what the forensic analysis will say about the contents of the package (the report also says another package was “removed from his body”). Where’s the mystery?

  2. Ed Lomax — on 1st September, 2008 at 1:05 pm  

    Andrew, You are not meant to come up with a rational explanation. This was a racist attack on an innocent family man and needs ‘justice’ by way of damages, apologies and maybe a small riot.

    Maybe these justice campaigners could also explain how 52 people can die in the process of simply getting to work?

  3. Sofia — on 1st September, 2008 at 1:11 pm  

    Ed, that’s a pathetic comment..what has this guys death got to do with anything else…there are plenty of ppl that die in this country whilst in police custody who don’t get damages, don’t get an apology and don’t cause a riot…stick to the issue. Why not wait till all the facts are out before passing judgement.

  4. platinum786 — on 1st September, 2008 at 2:21 pm  

    He might not have been a crack dealer.

    Was he convicted of it?

  5. murdoch — on 1st September, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Just because he may have not been convicted of supplying class a Drugs, it does not mean he wasn’t a drug dealer.

    For the record I happen to know this guy, he was well known for being a drug dealer. Its unfortunate what happened to him, but I have very little sypathy for him, think about the lives he has helped ruin with his drug dealing!

  6. Bin Qasim — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:03 pm  

    Was he convicted of it?

    No, but neither was Michael Jackson convicted of paedophilia.

    And neither have Blair and Bush been convicted for crimes against humanity.

    You work out the rest.

  7. Sofia — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

    you lot make me laugh. Judge and jury..

  8. Sunny — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:17 pm  

    Who happened to be a drugs baron and who will, thankfully, now not be pushing crack outside schools.

    Ahhh… and maybe you’d like to tell us about what ‘facts’ you know before trying to libel a dead person?

  9. Sunny — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    I think we can probably guess more or less what the forensic analysis will say about the contents of the package (the report also says another package was “removed from his body”). Where’s the mystery?

    Oh, I love online armchair investigators. How about a police report and all the details before passing judgement?

  10. Bin Qasim — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:28 pm  

    Sunny, the dead can’t sue for libel.

    Perhaps you should have exercised some caution before backing this campaign (by proxy, by advertsising it on your blog) and waited for the ‘police report and all the details.’

    Or do you know something the police don’t?

    Finally, what do you honestly think it was he swallowed? A bag of penny sweets? Get real.

  11. Andrew — on 1st September, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    Sunny, see that logo you’ve posted along with the story – what’s the faint word underneath “Why?”

    Someone who appears to be one of the campaign organisers has said this on Facebook: “In 2008 men in our communities should not being injured or killed during arrest & yet this is what has happened.”

    Seems to me there is a lot of information about this case in the public domain, and the question is why “community groups” are making a big deal of this and pretending there’s some sinister mystery about his death.

    “We are concerned how a man can die in the process of being arrested and how he came to have breathing difficulties.” – well, a man can die in the process of being arrested if he swallows a packet of something which blocks his windpipe, and he can develop breathing difficulties for the same reason. Even if it was a packet of penny sweets. If it was something more toxic, of course, he could develop breathing difficulties and die for that reason – and I suspect “choked or poisoned?” is the only thing the postmortem exam has yet to clear up.

  12. platinum786 — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    What if someone dropped it down his neck?

  13. Leon — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:11 pm  

    Sunny, the dead can’t sue for libel.

    Can’t relatives sue for the suffering they’re enduring due to lies about their deceased family member?

  14. Bin Qasim — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:23 pm  

    Possibly, but the burden of proof is on them to show that they are actually suffering due to someone posting a comment on a blog.

    Even then, a defence could be put forward on grounds of freedom of speech under European Law.

    Of course, when it goes public that ‘Pappu’ was a crack dealer/user, this will all become irrelevant and ‘champions of Pappu’, like this website, will be left with egg on their faces.

    I mean, seriously Leon, if this was your blog, you would surely (a) read the links that you post and (b), in this case, then come to the rational conclusion that this ‘campaign’ is a joke?

    Or maybe you wouldn’t.

  15. Leon — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    Well, I’m one of the writers on here and while I’m not 100% about supporting this campaign, I’m more than a little dismayed by some of the off key attitudes on display here…

  16. Bin Qasim — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    Why exactly are you not ’100%’ behind this campaign then?

    (‘Off key’ attitudes aside).

  17. Leon — on 1st September, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    Because it’s the first I’ve heard of it and I’ve not had the chance to read up on it yet (contrary to some people’s perception I don’t know everything that goes on!)…

  18. Bin Qasim — on 1st September, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    Leon, maybe the people who are throwing around what you consider to be ‘off key’ remarks are the ones who have actually ‘read up’ on the case.

    Do let us all know what you think once you get round to it.

    Until then, your opinion is pretty much worthless.

  19. Leon — on 1st September, 2008 at 5:03 pm  

    Making assumptions about a death without offering credible facts seems a little distasteful to me. As for worth, well that’s a matter of opinion.

    I’ll let you guess how much value I place on your esteemed utterances thus far. ;)

  20. Andrew — on 1st September, 2008 at 5:09 pm  

    http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/death_of_habib_ullah.pdf

    On Thursday 3 July 2008, three Thames Valley police officers in an unmarked police vehicle were in the Sharrow Vale area of High Wycombe. These officers observed a white Peugeot 106 being driven in the area and recognised that there was current intelligence on the occupants as being involved in the supply of Class A drugs. At 19:10 hours officers radioed for a marked police vehicle to attend.
    The white Peugeot pulled into the private car park at Lee Court on Sharrow Vale where it parked. The unmarked police car pulled into the car park behind it and was joined almost immediately by a marked police car; the marked car arrived at 19:12 hours. The police officers identified themselves to the 3 occupants of the parked car.
    Police officers proceeded to conduct a search, under the Misuse of Drugs Act, of the vehicle and the three occupants. Drug paraphernalia was seized from the footwell in the rear of the car. During the course of the search a man, now known to be Mr Habib Ullah (aged 39), was restrained by police officers, encountered breathing problems and an ambulance was called at 19:32 hours. An ambulance arrived at 19:51 hours and proceeded to administer medical assistance to Mr Ullah, after which he was transferred to High Wycombe General Hospital. At the hospital, doctors removed a package from Mr Ullah’s windpipe, a second package was subsequently found on his person. Mr Ullah’s health deteriorated and at 20:31 hours he was pronounced dead. Both of the packages have been sent away for forensic analysis
    An initial post mortem took place on Friday 4 July 2008, the result of which was inconclusive and further medical tests are now being carried out, as well as the pathologist taking into consideration other evidence. However the pathologist was able to confirm that there was no evidence of injuries consistent with Mr Ullah being beaten or struck with a baton.

  21. Ed Lomax — on 1st September, 2008 at 9:21 pm  

    …”no evidence of injuries consistent with Mr Ullah being beaten or struck with a baton.”

    That’s not going to go down well with the family. They want justice (in other words, a guilty verdict against the racist coppers who killed their little angel and set him up as a dealer and shoved the evil drugs down his throat and then ganged up to concoct a Zionist conspiracy. Oh, and some damages would be chufty too.)

  22. Sunny — on 1st September, 2008 at 11:08 pm  

    Who said anything about racism?

    I’m highlighting a campaign – readers can make their own judgements. Now its down the verdict, isn’t it.

  23. Ed Lomax — on 2nd September, 2008 at 9:15 am  

    Sunny, you didn’t but that’s the implication in their campaign isn’t it?

  24. Saqib Deshmukh — on 2nd September, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    My name is Saqib and I am one of the organisers of the campaign and have been working with the family since Habib’s death. First off can I thank Sunny for the link and being brave enough to challenge some of the views coming through.

    In terms of what has happened, we need to see this incident in the context of the many deaths in custody that have been taking place in this country over the last four decades since David Oluwales death in 1969. These deaths have disportionately effected African, African-Caribbean and Asian communities – see the following links:

    http://www.irr.org.uk/2002/november/ak000006.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversial_Deaths_in_UK_Police_Custody

    There are grave concerns about the how Habib was restrained and what is crucial is that there are two witnesses who were in the vehicle with him when he was stopped who are confirming that he was assaulted. There were TWO autopsies carried out and only one states that he had an object in his windpipe and that was carried out by the Police without the family being notified and the IPCC being brought in. The second autopsy supervised by the IPCC was inconclusive. There are a number of incidents of Police interference with the case all the way through which are also being investigated. Additionally there is direct evidence of a previous attack on Habib by the Police five months earlier which has been brought to light and the fact remains that no Habib had no criminal record linked to drugs and to date there has been no confirmation of what was seized.

    If you go research and look at the links and have worked like I have for more than two decades as a Youth worker with a range of communities you get to see the wider picture. There are too many deaths,too many questions and concerns and always too many excuses in return. In the words of Benjamin Zephaniah:

    ‘Why is it so official
    That black people are so often killed
    Without killers?’

    From ‘What Stephen Lawrence has taught us’

    No justice no Peace!
    Justice for Habib’Paps’Ullah

  25. Andrew — on 2nd September, 2008 at 2:36 pm  

    “There were TWO autopsies carried out and only one states that he had an object in his windpipe and that was carried out by the Police without the family being notified and the IPCC being brought in. The second autopsy supervised by the IPCC was inconclusive.”

    That’s not what the IPCC report says. The first (inconclusive) postmortem, according to them, was on the 4th of July. They had been notified by the police of the death at 00:30 that morning, four hours after the time of death. The package was removed from the Mr Ullah’s windpipe by doctors at the hospital (presumably as part of the efforts to keep him alive – doctors are quite reluctant to leave blockages in people’s airways while trying to resuscitate them).

  26. Saqib Deshmukh — on 2nd September, 2008 at 2:55 pm  

    We found out about the first unofficial autopsy after the IPCC report. There is new stuff coming out every day from the IPCC,the Police and from what the family are submitting to the solicitor. The Toxocology report is due out in October and obviously there will be an inquest so watch this space.

    To the doubters: I am ready to accept that maybe that this was am ‘accident’ and Officers panicked – but
    are you ready to accept that Officers used excessive restraint and holds on him (there were five remember)which lead to his death?

  27. Andrew — on 2nd September, 2008 at 3:09 pm  

    The more officers involved in a restraint, the safer it is – the fact that there were five officers present makes it far less likely that an inapproprate restraint was used (I have some experience of this).

    I’m not convinced that there is anything at all suspicious about this death. He was (as the family admits) a drug user, he swallowed a package of something-or-other during a legitimate police search, he died despite the efforts of the police, ambulance services and doctors.

  28. Shamit — on 2nd September, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    In a civilised society any death in police custody is unacceptable unless by an “ACT OF GOD”. Once someone is placed in custody it is the responsibility of the police to ensure his/her safety and produce them in court. And, in this case due to some unexplained circumstances the police failed to carry out their basic fudiciary responsibility and therefore it must be investigated thoroughly. That makes it absolutely appropriate for Sunny to highlight.

    Secondly, many comments here seem to say oh he was a criminal therefore his death in custody was okay. I beg to differ. We are a liberal democracy where even those accused of the most heinous crimes must be given the same protection under the law. Therefore, him being a criminal or not does not really have any bearing on this investigation.

    This also does not by any means suggest that the police were at fault — but we will only know when the investigation is complete and the truth unfolds.

    However, this matter of custodial death deserves our attention and that should be the case irrespective of race.

  29. Andrew — on 2nd September, 2008 at 4:50 pm  

    I can’t see why you think the police had a fiduciary responsibility towards Mr Ullah (were they managing his investment funds?), but I agree that all deaths in custody need to be investigated, as indeed they are as a matter of routine. That’s why the fact that the five officers are under investigation is not necessarily an indication of any suspicious circumstances or any failure on their part.

  30. Saqib Deshmukh — on 2nd September, 2008 at 5:20 pm  

    No power without accountability.

  31. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd September, 2008 at 6:31 pm  

    I get stopped and searched on such a regular basis I’ve started to actually carry drugs around with me just so I feel like the police are doing a job and not just picking on me for my ethnicity, which is far more depressing than being a junkie.

    Oh and Ed, you’re a prick. 24-carat.

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