Scotland: Harassment of the Siddique family

Asif SiddiqueOn April 12th Mohammed Atif Siddique and his uncle were prevented from boarding a flight to Pakistan from Glasgow airport (see more on situation at Glasgow airport here). They were briefly detained and allowed to return to the family home in Alva, Scotland. The next morning the house was raided by dozens of MI5, Special Branch and uniformed police officers using the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2000.

Two uncles of Atif arrested at the same time were released from Govan top security police station at 2.30am in the morning without charge after 13 days in custody. Atif’s brother Asif was held for a further period but then released without charge.

Mohammed Rafiq, a farmer from the Punjab and the paternal uncle of Atif and Asif Siddique, said he was “deeply upset” at what had happened. “My wife and five children are both utterly shocked at this as well,” he said. “I had never heard of the word terrorism until I came to this country. I came to visit my family and all I want to do now is to go home. I will never come back to Scotland.”  (The Herald)

Asif later revealed that police had questioned him about postcards found in the Siddique house from New York: “They found postcards I had got from friends who went on holiday to New York a few years ago. They asked me about who they were from and why I had them, which I found ridiculous because it was a holiday postcard. They also kept asking me what I thought about September 11 and I kept telling them that I condemned the attacks. We were shocked innocent lives should be taken like this.”  (Sunday Mail)

On Thursday 27th April Atif Siddique was charged with offences under Section 58(1b) of the Terrorism Act at a specially convened court in Falkirk. The offences relate to the possession of documents or records containing information “likely to be useful” to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Atif was remanded in custody and will appear in court again this week.