Statement issued by Aamer Anwar

Note from SACC A shortened version of this written statement (issued to the press by Aamer Anwar & co) was read out by Aamer Anwar on the steps of the High Court, Glasgow.

PRESS RELEASE from AAMER ANWAR & CO
- MONDAY 17th SEPTEMBER 2007

Statement read on the steps of the High Court by Mr Siddique's Solicitor - Aamer Anwar.

Today Mohammed Atif Siddique was found guilty of doing what millions of young people do every day, looking for answers on the internet.

This verdict is a tragedy for justice and for freedom of speech and undermines the values that separate us from the terrorist, the very values we should be fighting to protect.

It is farcical that part of the evidence against Atif was that he grew a beard, had documents in Arabic which he could not even read and downloaded material from a legitimate Israeli website run by DR Reuven Paz, ex Mossad. (www.e-prism .org)

When detained at Glasgow Airport by Special Branch on the 6th April 2006, his laptop was confiscated and he was released, at liberty for 7 days he made no attempt to escape or to destroy his home computer, hardly the actions of Al Qaeda. He remained at home until 7 am on the 13th April when the Police broke down his front door and he was taken to the Scottish Terrorism Centre in Govan for 2 weeks of questioning.

Young Muslims today live in a climate of fear no different to that experienced by the Irish community in the last century. There are two questions that remain unanswered:

Why websites based in the United States full of hatred (such as those of the chief Crown Expert Evan Kohlmann - www.globalterroralert.com) are allowed to operate? and why are young Muslims looking for answers to the horrors of Iraq, Guantanamo and Palestine on radical websites?

Since the Prevention of Terrorism Acts of the 1970s terror laws have done little to ensure that we are safe from terrorist attack, but much to infringe the human rights and civil liberties of those living in the UK. Terrorism can and must be fought without sacrificing our human rights.

Repression and injustice, and the criminalisation of communities make us less safe, not more. They act as a recruiting sergeant to extremism and marginalise those whose engagement is vital to the effective fight against terrorism. The sensational and biased reporting of this case breached the most important principle of justice- that people are innocent until proven guilty.

This is not a way to isolate extremism but only encourage it. Atif Siddique states that 'he is not a terrorist and is innocent of the charges, that it is not a crime to be a young Muslim angry at global injustice.' The prosecution was driven by the State, with no limit to the money and resources used to secure a conviction in this case, carried out in an atmosphere of hostility after the Glasgow Airport attack and ending on the anniversary of 9/11. In the end Atif Siddique did not receive a fair trial and we will be considering an appeal.