Press Release for Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
6.30pm Tuesday 25 April
Alva "Terrorism" raids - Police must behave responsibly
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. The men are relatives of Mohammed Atif Siddique, a young man who was arrested in a massive police raid involving armed officers at his family's home in Alva (near Stirling) on 13 April. Prior to their arrest the men had all been cooperating with the police in their ongoing inquiry, and we cannot imagine any adequate explanation for the police raid on an Alva house where two of the men were arrested on Monday morning. A third member of the family, from Bridge of Allan, was arrested later in the day after going to Randolphfield police headquarters in Stirling voluntarily and in good faith to answer police questions.
Mohammed Atif Siddique - the young man initially detained - has already been in police custody for over 12 days without any charge being brought. If he had been suspected of serial murder, armed robbery, rape, or any other "non-terrorist" offence, police would have had to charge him within 36 hours or release him. Our campaign has consistently argued against an extended pre-trial detention period for "terrorism" suspects. We believe that the legal protections granted to people suspected of ordinary crime are at least as necessary for people who fall foul of the "terrorism" police.
After his arrest, Atif Siddique asked his lawyer "to state that he is not a terrorist and he completely and utterly condemns the atrocities of 11 September and 7 July."
It isn't enough for police to say they are only doing their job. Police officers chose to arrest the men - probably after the inter-agency consultatation usual in terrorism case - and chose the manner in which the arrests were carried out. They also chose to apply to a sheriff to have the initial detention of Atif Siddique extended to 14 days. They have described the operation as "intelligence-led." It would be sensible to remember that it was an "intelligence-led operation" that sent British troops to fight their way into Iraq in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. We hope that Central Scotland Police will reflect on this and that they will behave responsibly.
And we hope that the friends and neighbours of the Siddique family - whether Muslim or non-Muslim - will rally round and provide the support that the family desperately needs and deserves.