ECHR orders UK government to pay convicted terrorist over £13,000

Ismail Aburahman

The Government has been ordered to pay a convicted terrorist more than £13,000 because his human rights were “violated” during police interviews over a plot to attack London.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that  €16,000 (£13,600) of Ismail Abdurahman’s legal costs must be paid as a seven-year court battle ended.

Two weeks after the 7/7 bombings Mr Abdurahman hid a man from authorities for three days who was planning a second bombing campaign which never manifested.

The Metropolitan Police initially questioned Abdurahman as a witness. As his answers turned him into a suspect the police failed to follow due procedure.

A panel of 17 judges sitting in the ECHR’s Grand Chamber found his rights to a fair trial and legal assistance had thus been breached. On Tuesday a judgement stated: “It was significant that there was no basis in domestic law for the police to choose not to caution Mr Abdurahman at the point at which he had started to incriminate himself.”

The ECHR reduced Abdurahman’s award from an initial £36,000 requested by his lawyers and did not conclude he had been wrongly convicted following the terror plot.

The verdict was agreed by 11 votes to six after lengthy consideration by judges from countries including Britain, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Macedonia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

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Abdurahman was jailed for eight years for giving shelter to Hussein Osman – one of five men who attempted to bomb the London transport network on 21 July 2005.

Jean Charles De Menezes
Jean Charles De Menezes

Hussein has since been jailed for life.

During the nationwide manhunt which took place for him an innocent man, Jean Charles De Menezes ,was killed by armed police who claimed to have mistaken him for the fugitive.

The Met Police Commissoner at the time, Sir Ian Blair, said Menezes “was challenged and refused to obey police instructions”, while Scotland Yard said his clothing and behaviour “added to their suspicions.”

These claims were all found to be false.

In 2007 the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that no disciplinary action would be taken against any of the officers involved in the killing.

In 2008 an inquest jury rejected Scotland Yard’s claim that De Menezes’ killing could be legally justified as part of a counter-terrorism operation. An open verdict was recorded after the coroner barred a verdict of unlawful killing being returned.

Speaking about the ECHR’s decision regarding Abdurahman, a Home Office spokesperson  said the government department is “disappointed with the Grand Chamber’s decision in relation to Ismail Abdurahman”.

The spokesman added: “Although this does not overturn his conviction for this serious offence, we will now carefully consider the implications of the judgment for our procedures in this type of case.”

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