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February 20, 2009

European Court of Human Rights orders UK to compensate Islamist

European Court of Human Rights orders UK to compensate Islamist

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Cquote1.svg Whilst I am very disappointed with any award, I recognise the Court has made substantially lower awards than these men sought in view of the fact these measures were devised in the face of a public emergency. Cquote2.svg

—Jacqui Smith, British home secretary

The European Court of Human Rights has awarded €2500 to Abu Qatada, an Islamic militant and cleric, in a lawsuit he filed against the United Kingdom which detained him without trial in 2002.

Qatada, who is facing extradition to Jordan to serve a life sentence for terrorism charges, and 10 others were detained under Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This act allowed foreign nationals suspected of terrorism to be detained, before being repealed in 2004 due to its discriminatory nature. The ECHR’s ruling determined the decision to detain Qatada under this law breached the ‘right to liberty and security’ secured in the European Convention of Human Rights.

The British government claimed they believed the people detained were “a threat to our national security.”

Some British politicians also objected to paying compensation to people believed to be terrorists.

Matthew Elliot, a lobbyist for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, argued: “This man hates everything Britain stands for, so it is disgusting that ordinary taxpayers are now forced to pay him thousands of pounds.”

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary commented: “This decision will horrify most reasonable people in the UK … it makes a mockery of the concept of human rights if we can’t protect ourselves against people who are out to destroy our society.”



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June 18, 2007

Kidnappers of BBC reporter Alan Johnston deny his release

Kidnappers of BBC reporter Alan Johnston deny his release

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Monday, June 18, 2007

The Army of Islam talking to Al-Jazeera.
Image: al-Jazeera.

The Army of Islam, a militant group which claims responsibility for kidnapping BBC News reporter Alan Johnston, has denied that a deal has been reached with Hamas that would secure his release and threaten to kill Johnston if Hamas fails to honor the group’s demands, in a video broadcast on Al Jazeera.

Despite the threat, the militant group has said that there are “developments” in the discussions with Hamas, but the group did not say what those developments were.

“There are developments and we will let you know when there are new developments. If they do not meet these demands there will be no release of this prisoner, but if things get worse we will get closer to God by killing this journalist,” said an unnamed masked man in the video who is reportedly a spokesman for the Army of Islam.

In the video, the man says that in order for Johnston to be released, Abu Qatada, a Palestinian cleric who is in a British prison in the U.K., and all other “Islamic prisoners” must be released from prison.

It is not known if the video is genuine. Johnston was kidnapped while he was returning to his home on March 12 in Gaza City.



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June 17, 2007

BBC reporter could be released within next few hours

BBC reporter could be released within next few hours

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poster outside Bush House, home of the BBC World Service

A spokesman for the Hamas organisation has indicated that the BBC reporter Alan Johnston kidnapped in Gaza on 12 March would be released within hours.

“The BBC journalist will be released within the next hours, today”, said Abu Osameh al-Mo’ti, Hamas spokesman from Iran.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official in Gaza was however more cautious about the situation, saying that “There are encouraging indicators that he will be released in the near future. But we cannot determine this in terms of hours.”

Later, a spokesman for the group said to be holding Alan, the Army of Islam denied the release was imminent. The group is demanding that Abu Qatada, described by the United Kingdom government as “significant international terrorist”, be released and said that “If they don’t meet these demands there will be no release of this prisoner.”

Earlier this month Johnston appeared in a video in which the group holding him demanded that Britain released Muslim prisoners.

The UK Foreign Office described the ongoing confusion as distressful to Alan Johnston’s family and friends. The BBC has said that “We are watching developments very closely.”

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May 9, 2007

Video released with demands for exchange of BBC correspondent

Video released with demands for exchange of BBC correspondent

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

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Alan Johnston in an undated BBC photo

The Arabic news television channel, Al-Jazeera has reported that it has received a tape apparently from the kidnappers of BBC Gaza Correspondent Alan Johnston, a citizen of the United Kingdom.

The film contains no pictures of Mr. Johnston, but it shows a picture of Johnston’s BBC ID card. The tape includes demands for the release of Muslims held in British jails and also readings from the Koran.

Alan Johnston was kidnapped on March 12, 2007 and has been held for over 8 weeks, the longest time for any foreigner in the Gaza Strip. The tape was delivered to al-Jazeera in Gaza and was made by a group calling itself Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam).

In response to this video, the BBC has said:

Cquote1.svg We are aware of the tape released by the Army of Islam concerning our Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston. We have no comment on the demands made of the British government in the tape – we remain concerned for Alan’s well-being and call for his immediate release Cquote2.svg

The tape does, however, have a specific demand – the demand being the release of Abu Qatada, a Palestinian born Islamic cleric who is suspected of close links to al-Qaeda and is currently held by the UK government as a threat to national security.

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