Sunday, May 25, 2008

Released without charges - to be deported

NOW a story of snooping and betrayal from the city once called Snottingham.
Watch out Robin - the Sheriff's men are on campus!

Hisham Yezza, a former PhD student and current employee of the University of Nottingham faces deportation to Algeria on Sunday 1st June. Apparently, Hisham's troubles started when an MA student at Nottingham, Rizwaan Sabir, saw a document which he thought he might use for his dissertation on "Islamic extremism", on a US government website. The document in question, a supposed 'Al Qaeda' training manual said to have been obtained by the Greater Manchester Police, has appeared in various places.

To save himself the cost of printing its 1,500 pages, Rizwaan forwarded it to a friend in the university's Engineering department for printing. Somebody somehow saw this material on Hisham's computer. They told the university authorities. The authorities apparently did not ask their staff member who wanted this document, or what for, they simply called the police.

As a result, armed police arrested Hisham and Rizwaan on May 14, using the 2000 Terrorism Act. They were held for six days. Their homes were raided, and family members questioned. It seems Nottingham University said there was no threat to academic freedom involved in calling the cops, because Hisham, though he had studied at the university was only a member of clerical staff.

The pair were released on 20 May. But Hisham Yezza was re-arrested under immigration legislation and, due to confusion over his visa documentation, charged with offences relating to his immigration status. He sought legal advice and representation over these matters whilst in custody. On Friday 23rd May, he was suddenly served with a deportation notice and he is now being held at Colnbrook Detention Centre, near Heathrow.

Hicham has been resident in the U.K. for 13 years, during which time he has studied for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Nottingham. He is an active member of debating societies, a prominent member of an arts and theatre group, and has been writing editorials for the Student Peace Movement magazine for the last five years. Friends say he is well known and popular on campus, and has established himself as a voracious reader and an authority on literature and music. An application for British citizenship was under way, and he had been planning to make his yearly trip to Wales for the Hay Festival when he was suddenly arrested.

Alf Nilsen, a research fellow at in the school of Politics and International Relations says "This is a clear case of the police trying to cover up their completely unjustified targetting of of these two innocent men by making Hicham look guilty by deporting him. Hicham is entirely innocent and the rushed and heavy-handed way in which the authorities are dealing with this matter is outrageous."

Contact: - or the campaign team,

Thanks to Asa Winstanley and Heather Masoud for drawing my attention to this case, and see

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