London – The conviction of the the Stansted 15 today based on terror related charges makes blatant that the politicised body of laws passed under the pretext of combating terrorism are all too often used to silence dissent and impair human rights work and must be repealed. We have warned of this risk to the fabric of civil liberties protection and have documented the devastating effects in the Muslim community , which has borne the brunt of these challenges.

Muhammad Rabbani, CAGE International Director who was convicted of a Terrorism offence for protecting a survivor of Torture said:

“I commend the Stansted 15 for their bravery and outright rejection of these charges. Terror related powers are very draconian, intrusive and are an all to easy tool to silence dissent. Risking a criminal conviction for the public good has put them on par with campaigners like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.

“Terrorism laws are used by the state to protect its interests not that of citizens. No one should be burdened with the stigma of a terrorism conviction for carrying out their civic duty, this should spur us to challenge these laws and courageously defend our right to dissent and defend those who have been done injustice.”

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee and CAGE Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg said:

“In 2008, during his time in opposition, Conservative former First Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green, was arrested by counter-terrorism police for “aiding and abetting misconduct in public office.” In the same year, Britain used terrorism laws to to seize money owed to depositors in a failed Icelandic bank. The people of Iceland petitioned the Prime Minister to say they were not terrorists after their nation’s assets were frozen. Today’s decision once again reminds us that you don’t have to pose any threat of violence to be deemed a terrorist. That is what CAGE has been saying for fifteen years.”

“Despite being imprisoned under terrorism laws by both Britain and America, I have no convictions. The Stansted 15, on the other hand, are convicted terrorists in Britain today. One day, as a nation, Britain will look back and ask itself, “what have we become?” Sadly, that day is not today.”

 

Image courtesy of end deportations

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)