Samina Malik has won an appeal against her conviction for collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, under s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Indeed, many were appalled at the conviction of Samina and the conflation and confusion that surrounded her case. We had the Islamophobic elements of the media portraying (and in the process confusing all of us) Samina as a ‘wanna-be terrorist’, or more precisely the ‘Lyrical terrorist’. One that helped to build the persona that she was convicted because of her poetry. And on the other hand you had the prosecutors conflating the evidence against her for the jury to secure her conviction.
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips said “We consider that there is a very real danger that the jury became confused and that the prosecution have rightly conceded that this conviction is unsafe.”
Out of the 21 documents 14 of them did not fall in to the category Lord Phillips describes as “The jury was required to consider not only documents which were capable of being of practical utility for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, but a large number of documents that were not.” And “We consider that there was scope for the jury to have become confused.”
That’s over two-third of the evidence being inadmissible!
The ruling makes it clear, that s.58 of the 2000 Act is only interested in material that offers practical assistance, it does not include Propagandist or theological material.
So we still ask, what is practical in these documents that the CPS still believes will be useful for terrorism purposes, that cannot be taken from an Army manual, or a Handbook on Kung Fu? Yes I am being a little flippant here – but the point is we live now in an age where people get arrested for downloading an “Al-Qaeda” manual, even though their PhD thesis is on Al-Qaeda.
We live in an age that the government is willing to lock people up for up to 42 days (it wanted 90 initially) without those arrested having the right to know why. Let’s not forget that it is this same government that had introduced “internment” and then Control Orders. It is the very same government that is trying to push through a Bill that will punish (see Terrorist Notification) those convicted of Terrorism for the rest of their lives.
It is disgraceful that we hear one Muslim organisation that gave it public support, it is shameful that only 36 Labour MP’s stood against the erosion of our liberties. But as the saying goes beneath every grey cloud there is a silver lining!
Go on David Davis!!!