An entire family, including a young baby and an eight year-old child, face being thrown out of their family home in Manchester, England, under anti-democratic legislation. The seven members of the family of Munir Farooqi are being threatened with the collective punishment, after he was convicted of terrorist offences and jailed in September of 2011.
The basis for eviction is that the house in the Longsight district of the city was the location of some of the alleged crimes of which Farooqi was convicted. Under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, the house is being subject to forfeiture as property, as it was deemed to have been used “for the purposes of terrorism”. The attempt to seize the home and evict three generations of the family is the first time the forfeiture clause in the law has been used since it was passed.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:
“The power to forfeit residential premises in these circumstances is a new power under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, and before any decision is made, the forfeiture application is considered by the court and the family will be given an opportunity to be heard.”
If the order is granted, the property would be sold and the proceeds placed into the Magistrates’ Court. The state is attempting to seize the home, even though it does not belong to Munir Farooqi. The deeds of the property are in the name of his wife, Zeenat Farooqi.
Munir’s son, Harris Farooqi, lives in the house and was acquitted of a charge of preparing for an act of terrorism. He explained:
“It’s a family house. Why is it collective punishment in a democratic society? I don’t understand. We as British citizens work here all our lives and then we’re thrown out onto the streets.”
Munir Farooqi was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, three counts of soliciting to murder and dissemination of terrorist publications. Two other men, Matthew Newton and Hussain Malik, were also jailed following an undercover operation by police from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU). As part of the operation, which was more than a year in duration, undercover police who pretended to become Muslim and sought information and guidance from Munir met with him in his house and made secret recordings of the conversations about Islam that occurred there.
Farooqi and the other defendants in the case denied all the charges against them. And he is currently appealing his conviction. The men were jailed, despite the police finding no evidence that they were actually preparing a crime. Instead, they were jailed on the basis of their “ideology” (thought crimes) which in fact means that they were jailed only because they are Muslim, and for holding Islamic beliefs. Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter, the head of the NWCTU, was forced to acknowledge that their was no evidence and that thes men were singled out due to their faith and charged and tried simply for their thoughts and beliefs. Read the rest of this entry »