Faith in British Justice Rewarded
07 April 2012
Palestinian community leader Raed Salah today won his appeal against the British government's attempts to deport him from the United Kingdom. More than 2 months since the latest of a number of legal hearings, the Vice President of the Upper Immigration Tribunal has ruled that "the Secretary of State's decision... appears to have been entirely unnecessary" and that Sheikh Raed's appeal against the deportation order "succeeds on all grounds".
In his judgement, Mr Justice Ockelton senior immigration judge and vice president of the Upper Tribunal said that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, "was misled" and "under a misapprehension as to the facts". He added that "there is no evidence that the danger perceived by the Secretary of State is perceived by any of the other countries where the appellant has been, nor, save for the very tardy indictment, is there any evidence that even Israel sees the danger that the Secretary of State sees."
Sheikh Raed, an Israeli citizen, came to London at the invitation of Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in June last year for a 10-day speaking tour, primarily to speak to parliamentarians at Westminster. His programme was publicised well in advance but attracted no interest from security officials, the UK Border Agency or the Home Office. Two days into the tour, the Home Office claimed that a banning order had been placed on the Sheikh, although neither he nor his representatives in Israel or the UK were given copies, and he was arrested at his hotel in London. Following an initial spell in custody, Sheikh Raed has been living in London under a curfew having opted to stay in Britain to clear his name. He has had to report to a local police station on a daily basis and restrictions were in place to prevent him from speaking in public.
It is understood that the Home Secretary acted initially on an email from the Community Security Trust and started the legal procedure which has resulted in humiliation for the government. Mrs. May's reliance on pro-Israel Jewish community groups who provided the "evidence" which formed the basis of her case against Sheikh Raed is totally discredited by the judgement.
According to Dr. Daud Abdullah, the Director of MEMO, Mr. Justice Ockelton's decision is a landmark for freedom of speech as well the rights of Palestinians to campaign against injustice at home and abroad.
"Mr. Justice Ockelton said that freedom of speech is 'entitled to general protection' and that is what this case is all about," said Dr. Abdullah. "Sheikh Raed Salah is an outspoken critic of his government's discriminatory policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and it is entirely appropriate that a leading law officer in Britain has seen through the propaganda and stated clearly that someone, a group or an individual, has 'misled' the Home Secretary on such an important matter."
Sheikh Raed will now return to his home in Israel having seen his faith in Britain's justice system rewarded; he goes home with no stain on his character or against his name.
For further information please contact Dr Daud Abdullah on +44 (0) 78 1448 9531
Twitter hash tag for this news: #RaedSalah
The Middle East Monitor is an independent media research institute founded in the United Kingdom in 2009 to foster a fair and accurate coverage of Middle Eastern issues and in particular the Palestine Question in the Western Media.