Muslim youth worker calls for police to apologise over wrongful arrest

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The police are investigating how a Muslim youth worker was wrongly arrested and detained on suspicion of terrorist activity while on his way to a family holiday.

The Guardian reports that a 35-year-old man from Luton, who has asked not to be named, has called on the Metropolitan police to apologise for their actions.

The man, who abides by the Prevent counter-terrorism programme as part of his job, says his career has been tarnished by the arrest.

He told The Guardian that he was stunned to be told he was being arrested on suspicion of terrorism. “I was shocked. I have never been arrested or in trouble with the police in my life. I just broke down when they said that to me.”

The family had been on their way to a holiday in Turkey when they were stopped by officers from the Met’s counter-terrorism command. The man and his wife, also 35, were arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.

When the family arrived at Luton airport on 26 October last year police officers arrested him under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which has broad powers to stop and search and hold individuals at ports, airports and international rail stations.

He said: “The police tarnished my career and broke me into pieces. If the police can do this to someone like me then no one is safe. I believe I was targeted because of my religion, there can be no other reason. I’m too scared to go back to an airport and don’t think I’ll ever fly again.”

 

The man said he was handcuffed and that police treated him like an animal during the time he was under arrest at the airport. They did not remove the cuffs when he went to the toilet.

 

He was then taken to Southwark police station in London, where he learned his house had been raided by police when he was allowed to call his sister. At the police station he was questioned before being released the following day.

“The police asked me what my view was about ISIS. I said I had a negative view of them, that I live in a democratic country and work to deradicalise young people. Our religion is about peace and tranquility. It does not promote the things Isis stands for,” he said.

“When the police said they would be taking no further action that was it for them, but I’m now left trying to rebuild my life.”

His solicitor, Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors, said: “Bearing in mind the volume of information my client gave police they didn’t need to arrest him. I’m concerned that people are being targeted on the basis of race and religion. We have complained to the MPS that my client was unlawfully arrested and detained and falsely imprisoned in breach of his human rights.”

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