Anorak News | Hassan Butt Arrested

Hassan Butt Arrested

by | 19th, May 2008

HASSAN BUTT has been arrested:

Hassan Butt sent dozens of British Muslims to training camps in Pakistan, raised money for the Taleban and once boasted of his desire “to kill or be killed for the sake of Allah”. His words and deeds in support of Islamist terrorism were reported widely between 2001 and 2004, yet he was never charged with any offence.

After the suicide attacks on London in July 2005, he embarked on a lengthy and painful reexamination of his beliefs, eventually repudiating violence and emerging as a passionate critic of the cause he once espoused. Since early 2007 Mr Butt, 28, has denounced al-Qaeda in numerous newspaper articles, in international television interviews and in debate at the Cambridge Union.

However, he has been labelled a traitor to Islam by his former comrades and in April last year was stabbed in the street by two assailants.

Ten days ago, as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan, Mr Butt was arrested – and is still detained – under the Terrorism Act.

FREEDOM of the Press:

Sir, We are gravely concerned that Greater Manchester Police is attempting to use counter-terrorism legislation to force a journalist to reveal all confidential source material from a book he is currently writing.

This legal action poses a serious risk to the future of investigative journalism. The journalist in question, Shiv Malik, is well regarded for his investigative work on terrorist organisations, which has won him praise from Jonathan Evans, the Director-General of MI5.

Journalism like Malik’s is only possible because people are willing to speak out to reporters privately and in confidence. We believe that the police’s attempt to obtain Malik’s materials threatens the future of all publications that seek to expose terrorist organisations to public scrutiny and that if requests like this become routine under counter-terrorism legislation, it would have major implications for media freedom in this country.

The Rule:

Journalists are covered to a certain extent by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to freedom of expression. With the incorporation of the convention into domestic law, under the Human Rights Act of 1998, the right is now expressly guaranteed. However, that right is not absolute: interferences with the right to freedom of expression may be permitted “if they are prescribed by law, pursue a legitimate aim and are necessary in a democratic society, that is, satisfy a pressing social need”.

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Posted: 19th, May 2008 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink