Press Releases from 2006

Press Releases and public statements by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities

  • 06 December 2006
    Craig Murray, a former student at Dundee University who served for two years as Britain's ambassador to Uzbekistan, will be speaking today at a meeting hosted by Dundee Trades Union Council. The visit comes as controversy continues to grow over the activities of Tayside's anti-terror police. There is particular concern over the possibility that intelligence gathered by a Tayside anti-terror unit could be shared with agencies in countries where human rights abuses are commonplace.
  • 19 November 2006
    Concerns over the activities of Tayside's controversial Special Branch Community Contact Unit (SBCCU) were discussed at the civil liberties sesion of a conference organised by Dundee Social Forum on Saturday.
  • 07 November 2006
    Scotland Against Criminalisng Communities (SACC) was surprised to learn that a Dundee Muslim community leader has "denounced anti-police sentiment" supposedly shown at a meeting that our campaign helped to organise. The comments by Bashir Chohan, of Dundee Islamic Society Central Mosque, appeared in today’s Evening Times. He has clearly been misinformed. No anti-police sentiments were expressed at the meeting. We are particularly distressed by the ill-informed criticism that has been directed at Osama Saeed, a spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain and one of the best champions of healthy inter-community relations that Scotland is likely to see.
  • 03 November 2006
    The Muslim Association of Britain and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities will be holding a public meeting in Dundee on Monday in response to the growing controversy over the monitoring of school and university students by "anti-terrorist" police from Special Branch.
  • 15 October 2006
    The scandal surrounding the government's use of contradictory evidence against people that it wishes to deport as "threats to national security" shows yet again that the parallel justice system operating in such cases is nothing more than a system of sanitised injustice. The scandal came to light last week when it was revealed that a high court judge chairing the Special Immigration Appeals Commission had ruled in May that the Home Office case against an Algerian man known only as "MK" had not been sufficiently "fact driven."
  • 08 October 2006
    SACC applauds the statement by Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm reported in Scottish editions of today's Metro that Muslim women are welcome at his Leith constituency surgery whether or not their faces are covered. But we fear that Jack Straw's recent disgraceful remarks are more than just a foolish eccentricity.
  • 06 October 2006
    SACC supports the call by Amnesty International for the UK government to fulfil its obligations under domestic and international law and ensure the immediate return to the UK of all the British residents held at Guantanamo Bay.
  • 06 October 2006
    Jack Straw's statement yesterday that Muslim women should not cover their faces marks a new low in the government's approach to community and race relations. It comes only a couple of weeks after John Reid's offensive instruction to Muslim parents to watch out for "extremism" in their kids.
  • 17 September 2006
    Anti-war campaigners at a Dundee University freshers fair on Saturday found themselves secretly targeted by terror police. A man who approached campaigners at a Stop The War stall and asked about future activities turned out to be a Special Branch officer who has been working with Tayside's controversial Special Branch Community Contact Unit (SBCCU). According to Alan Hinnrichs, chair of the Dundee branch of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the man did not identify himself as a police officer. His identity only came to light because he was recognised by a member of the University Islamic Society who had invited the officer to a meeting of the society earlier in the year.
  • 13 August 2006
    SACC welcomes yesterday's statement by Scotland's universities that there was no evidence of "extremist" groups operating among their students. The statement follows an article in the Sunday Telegraph claiming that the paper had found "extremist literature" in rooms used by London Metropolitan University Islamic Society. The Sunday Telegraph says it also found copies of a "Know Your Rights Pamphlet." Our campaign distributes this leaflet in Scotland and we commend it to everyone, and especially to members of the Muslim community
  • 03 July 2006
    The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, this morning held a public consultation in Glasgow as part of his review into the definition of terrorism on behalf of the Government.
  • 25 June 2006
    The BBC yesterday didn't manage to spot 30 or more protestors, some large banners saying "Stop Torture", a man in a Guantanamo-style orange suit, handcuffs and a mask and a rather famous former British ambassador called Craig Murray. These aren't things that blend easily into a Saturday afternoon crowd at Edinburgh airport, but the BBC managed somehow to overlook them and report "Demonstrations at Edinburgh and Prestwick failed to materialise." The demonstrators were protesting at the failure of the Scottish Executive, the Westminster government and police to take action over growing evidence that British airports are being used to facilitate extraordinary rendition.
  • 13 June 2006
    Campaigners are calling for an immediate halt to the activities of the controversial Special Branch Community Contact Unit operated by Tayside Police. The Unit targets "ethnic religious groups" in order to gather intelligence on activities that "could be considered extremist." The call follows revelations about the Unit's activities published in the Sunday Herald on 11th June.
  • 07 June 2006
    Scotland Against Criminalsing Communities (SACC) welcomes the publication today of the report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty on alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states. The report is scheduled to be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 27 June. SACC joins with other peace and human rights groups in calling for vigils to be held at airports in the UK and the Republic of Ireland on Saturday 24th June to demand that our governments implement the recommendations made by Senator Marty and that governments and police forces take urgent action against torture and illegal detention.
  • 31 May 2006
    We are shocked that Professor Paul Wilkinson of St Andrews University used the International Press Institute Conference in Edinburgh this week to promote the tired and racist ideology of a "clash of civilisations". He was speaking at a session entitled "Journalism Under Pressure - Reporting Terrorism." According to a report in today's Scotsman (Thursday 1 June), he referred repeatedly to a battleground with "the West" on one side and al-Qaeda standing in for an unspecified other side. This is the kind of talk that risks dividing the world and dividing our country. Millions of British people reject the British government's middle eastern wars. To parcel them up under the heading "the West" with Tony Blair, George Bush and friends is to attempt to declare politics and democracy obsolete.
  • 25 May 2006
    Police announced this week that the Special Branch Community Contact Unit operating in Tayside on a trial basis since last October is to be made permanent. And it appears that the scheme is set to be adopted by other Scottish police forces. Police consider the Tayside unit to be a success. This is not a view that we share.
  • 10 May 2006
    John Reid's speech today on the July bombings was deeply depressing. He rejected calls for an public inquiry into the bombings, which is clearly the only way that the facts of the tragedy can be established with any confidence. Instead we have only a "narrative" told by the police and the intelligence services. And he made it plain that there will be no change in the direction of the government's misguided counter-terrorism strategy, which is suppressing political discussion and putting minority communities under siege, and risks creating new recruits for terrorism.
  • 25 April 2006
    SACC is alarmed at the arrest of three more men in the Stirling area on Monday on suspicion of connection with "terrorism". The heavy-handed arrests have caused great distress to the men's families and are likely to spread fear throughout the Muslim community in the region.
  • 07 April 2006

    On Wednesday 12 April, the STUC Annual Congress in Perth will vote on a resolution urging the Scottish Executive and Scottish police forces to investigate suspicions that US aircraft landing at Scottish airports are involved in so-called "extraordinary renditions" . SACC will be hosting a lunch-time fringe meeting in Perth on Tuesday to discuss British involvement in extraordinary rendition and torture. Speakers at the meeting will include Clara Gutteridge, a lawyer who has been giving advice to Westminster's All-Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Renditions, chaired by Andrew Tyrie MP. Clara Gutteridge has uncovered extensive evidence that British intelligence services have been involved in the abduction, interrogation and torture of supposed "terrorism suspects". As well as the lunch-time meeting in Perth, she will be speaking at an open meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening.

  • 28 March 2006

    Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday that it would be a "diplomatic error" for UK officials to board US aircraft to investigate their involvement in "extraordinary rendition." This contradicts assurances given in January by the US Consul in Scotland, Cecile Shea. At a meeting with human rights campaigners held at the consulate in Edinburgh on 17 January she made it clear that there would be no US objection to police carrying out investigations on specific aircraft where there were reasonable grounds to suspect involvement in illegal activities.

  • 10 March 2006
    Rachid Ramda, an Algerian man being tried on terrorism charges in France, has refused to participate in his own trial and has asked his lawyer to take no part in the proceedings. The court had earlier refused a request for the trial to be delayed to allow time for police to investigate allegations that key evidence against Mr Ramda had been obtained through torture. Mr Ramda's decision will be understood and respected by his many friends and supporters in Britain. He has always insisted that he is innocent of any involvement in the bombings he is accused of helping to finance. Characteristically, he was at pains in court to stress his sympathy for the bomb victims.
  • 10 March 2006
    Rachid Ramda, un algérien en instance de jugement pour terrorisme en France,a refusé de participer à son propre procès et a demandé à son avocat de nepas prendre part aux procédures. Le tribunal avait refuse une précédenterequête de suspension du procès pour permettre à la police de mener uneenquête sur les allégations selon lesquelles les principales accusationscontre Mr Ramda avaient été obtenues sous la torture. La décision prise parMr Ramda est respectée par tous ses amis et supporteurs en Grande-Bretagne.

  • 08 March 2006
    As evidence of British complicity in US torture flights continues to mount, Brian Donohoe, Labour MP for Central Ayrshire, has made public a letter from Jack Straw, dated 21 December 2005, in which the Foreign Secretary flatly refuses to take any steps to investigate British involvement in rendition. Instead, the Foreign Secretary repeats demonstrably misleading assurances from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The letter concludes with the remark "see you in the tea room."
  • 15 February 2006
    MPs voted this afternoon by 315 to 277 to overturn a Lords defeat that would have removed from the Terorism Bill the clauses outlawing "glorification of terrorism". In doing so, they put Parliament on a collision course with justice.
  • 06 February 2006

    As the row over British complicity in US "torture flights" continues to grow, new evidence has been made public highlighting the human rights abuses suffered by foreign nationals suspected of "terrorism-related activities" by the British government. The latest allegations of abuse are contained in evidence submitted by campaigning group Scotland Against Criminalising Communities to the inquiry into counter-terrorism policy and human rights being conducted by Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights. Testimony submitted to the inquiry by the the multi-faith group Peace & Justice in East London is expected to tell a similar story.

  • 02 February 2006
    Campaigners are to hold a vigil at Edinburgh airport this Sunday in protest at the apparent use of Scottish airports by CIA-owned aircraft involved in extraordinary rendition. The vigil is being organised by Edinburgh Stop The War Coalition and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, who mounted a similar vigil on 18 December last year, provoking a strongly-worded response from US Consul Cecile Shea. The Consul was reported as saying that British officials would not be allowed to inspect CIA aircraft. She later told a delegation of MSPs and campaigners that she had not intended to suggest that she would have any objection to British police boarding American aircraft in the course of a criminal investigation.
  • 17 January 2006
    Cecile Shea, US Consul in Scotland, said today that her statement to the Scotsman newspaper last month that British officials would not be allowed to check US aircraft for involvement in "extraordinary rendition" had been misunderstood. She said that she had been responding to a question from the Scotsman about blanket inspections of all American aircraft, but she would of course not object to police carrying out investigations on specific aircraft where there were reasonable grounds to suspect involvement in crime. She made it clear that she recognised that any decision to carry out such investigations was a matter for the British authorities.
  • 16 January 2006

    Press Release from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC)Monday 16 January 2006, 10pm

    The US Consul in Scotland has stirred up a diplomatic storm with her statement that British officials would not be "allowed" to inspect US aircraft suspected of involvement in the practice of "extraordinary rendition" if they stop off in Scotland. The Consul, Cecil Shea, made the remarks in an interview published in the Scotsman newspaper after protestors held simultaneous vigils against rendition flights at the three major Scottish airports - Glasgow, Prestwick and Edinburgh - on 18 December last year.