Female Muslim poet in Somaliland detained without charge for a social media post

Johannesburg – CAGE Africa calls for the immediate release of poet Naema Ahmed Ibrahim, who was detained late last month by Somaliland security services on her way to Somalia.

According to lawyers, Ms Ibrahim was arrested without a court warrant, and simply due to a social media post in which she allegedly referred to the unity of Somalia. She is also a women’s rights activist.

According to Guleid Ahmed Jama, Director of the Human Rights Centre in Hargeisa, Somaliland, Ms Ibrahim has been remanded in custody until February 15. She has not been allowed to receive visits from her family.

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“It is unacceptable and a violation of the rule of law to arrest someone without a warrant, and then detain them without charge for almost a month in relation to a simple opinion expressed on social media.”

“These kinds of arrests are part of a broader campaign in Africa in which government security services are expected to play ball in the US-led ‘War on Terror’, and they do so by cracking down on Muslim activists such as Ms Ibrahim.”

“In this age of perpetual global war, our opinions and beliefs are policed. Muslims and others concerned with justice should be under no illusion that their social media activity is being monitored. However, instead of increasing security, this will ultimately lead to a closed society where people self-censor and find other possibly less productive methods of expressing their beliefs. This is dangerous. As such, attempts by government to muzzle prominent thinkers like Ms Ibrahim should be called out as they happen, and pressure mounted to secure the freedom of these important voices.”

[Ends]

Press enquiries:
karen@cage.ngo


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Lauri Love victory shows up UK’s double standards

London – CAGE congratulates Lauri Love on his victory after a five-year court battle to challenge his extradition to the United States.

The decision reinforces the growing acknowledgement that incarceration in the United States borders on inhumane and degrading treatment, and that trials in high profile cases may not always conform to the rule of law.

The ruling by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Justice Duncan Ouseley is in stark contrast to a former ruling by Justice Ouseley in 2012, where he rejected an appeal against extradition to the US by Talha Ahsan, who also suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, and other British Muslim nationals. It appears difficult to establish the rationale for these decisions when compared to Mr Love’s case.

Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE, said:

“We congratulate Lauri on his win.”

“This case should prompt closer examination of the UK-US Extradition treaty, which enables British courts to effectively outsource trials to the United States under a non-reciprocal agreement. In the context of the War on Terror, with the US legal definition of terrorism being extremely broad, systemic human rights abuses in prisons and Islamophobia permeating the courts, the majority of terrorism trials in the US result in a plea deal. The treaty erodes the rule of law and violates the rights of British citizens.”

“In a previous extradition case involving an individual with mental health issues, the home secretary intervened to block it, and in this case the judge found it may well cause suicide. However, a Muslim with the same condition as Lauri was extradited and held without charge for the longest period in the UK, and then in solitary confinement in the US, itself a form of torture. The principle that justice does not discriminate is undermined when the judiciary fails to apply the law in an even handed manner and panders to prevailing prejudices.”

 

Image from @Niels Ladefoged on twitter

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

The trial by media of Professor Tariq Ramadan erodes the presumption of innocence

London – In all cases of serious sexual assault it is fundamental that the rights of all parties are protected. All efforts must be made to safeguard the interests of victims particularly when the perpetrator is a well know personality. However, the requirement for due process also enshrines the right to a fair hearing. These are basic universal principles that underline the work of CAGE.

We are therefore concerned by the selective leaking of confidential evidence into the public domain which appears to be geared towards damaging the trial process. This is particularly dangerous when such leaks have coincided with prejudicial commentary by senior politicians and the media.

The hypocrisy of such a position has been demonstrated by former Prime Minister Manuel Valls who intervened pejoratively on the Tariq Ramadan case, yet extended the presumption of innocence in defence of the current Finance Minister, who is also accused of rape.

The law requires equal treatment of all suspects and the assumption of innocence before conviction. A trial of these serious allegations should be on the basis of concrete evidence procured in a fair manner, and not on the personality of the accused, or on the bias created by the media.

Furthermore, it is undermining to the interests of justice to use the case of Professor Ramadan as a tool to fan the flames of Islamophobia and play into the dog whistle politics of the far right.

In France, it is reported that the Muslim prison population stands at a shocking 70%. If Professor Ramadan’s trial by media continues on the current trajectory, it will only cement the already existing belief that Muslims are exempt from the French values of liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE, said:

“CAGE is deeply concerned about the role of those engaged in instigating and perpetuating anti-Muslim sentiments based on the political and religious views of Professor Ramadan in France and beyond.”

“It is important for the legal process to arrive at a fair and just conclusion for all concerned. However, recent and past history shows us that governments are capable of hijacking the very serious issue of sexual offence in order to further smear campaigns against individuals who they perceive to have influence on the public discourse, especially on matters pertaining to civil rights, political dissent, community empowerment, whistleblowing and resisting government overreach.”


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Trump’s Executive Order on Guantanamo shows that the US will continue on the war path despite the dangers to us all: CAGE

London – US President Donald Trump’s decision to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open and fill it with more prisoners shows that the United States, is continuing on the same trajectory that has brought no end to violence in the never-ending and self perpetuating ‘War on Terror’.

He has suggested that new prisoners from the conflict in Syria and Iraq may be sent there – to add to the 41 remaining prisoners. Since Guantanamo is a legal black hole where torture takes place, this is a move that further undermines the rule of law.

This threatens to damage the reputation of the United States beyond repair, and act as a precedent for repressive regimes worldwide to continue their abuses unfazed by any possibility of accountability.

Moazzam Begg, CAGE outreach director, said:

“Trump has previously stated his belief that “torture works”, that he’d use waterboarding – a medieval torture technique used during the Spanish Inquisition – as a means of extracting information from captives “and a lot more” and that he’d keep Guantanamo open and “load it up with some bad dudes.” Today he began one part of delivering on his promise.”

“It was Obama’s failure to follow through on his promise of closing down Guantanamo and to prosecute those involved in torture, detention-without-trial and false imprisonment, that allowed Trump to use the language of endorsing war crimes. The truth is that these abuses will remain crimes of the very worst kind no matter which US President justifies them.”

“We should all wake up to the reality that detention without trial, torture, indiscriminate killing and other flagrant abuses of the rule of law are the greatest fuel for the grievances that perpetuate current cycles of violence.”


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Commission for Counter Extremism flawed in both purpose and function: CAGE

London – The idea of a Commission for Counter Extremism (CCE) when there is no accepted definition of “extremism” is flawed at best.

The definition can only be found in policy documents relating to Prevent and that definition has come under a great deal of fire from civil society and community organisations.

If opposition to the rule of law is a sign of “extremism”, then the systematic dismantling of due process rights in the UK legal system and silencing of dissent is indicative of state sponsored “extremism”, with the CCE being the latest manifestation.

Asim Qureshi research director at CAGE, said:

“The government has already made up its mind about where the emphasis of its counter extremism strategy should be. Throughout the history of Prevent it has relied on partners with minimal links to communities in order to prop up the policy. The appointment of Sara Khan is unremarkable considering the long history of such state nepotism.”

“CAGE calls for a complete policy of disengagement with the commission.”

 

CC image courtesy of deccgovuk on Flikr


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Children rounded up in Kenya madrassa raid by FBI and Scotland Yard must be returned to parents

Johannesburg – The 95 children taken into custody after a raid by the FBI and Scotland Yard on a madrassa in Likoni, Kenya, must be released and returned to their parents immediately.

The raid was conducted on 20 December by local and international forces, who claimed, without evidence, that the madrassa was operating a “terrorist cell”.

But according to the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya treasurer Sheikh Hassan Omar, the parents of the children are still waiting to be told exactly why their children were taken into custody. He said security forces had “picked and harassed our children without any reason”.

The latest news reports on the issue claimed the children are being interrogated by foreign agencies.

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“The fact that foreign security forces from the US and UK can swoop into a madrassa and detain almost 100 children shows how global counter-terrorism operations are a threat to international law, which is supposed to protect children from the trauma of detention and interrogation.”

“We call for the children to be released immediately and for due process. Police cannot use the results of interrogations to build a case. Justice demands that enough evidence be presented first, to determine whether it is necessary to question children, and even then strict legal standards must be maintained. However, foreign agencies are turning due process on its head, traumatising many families. Kenyans should be outraged that foreign agencies are allowed to launch operations of this nature on their soil.”

[Ends]

Press enquiries:
Karen Jayes
karen@cage.ngo


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

New policy exposes how the government exploits mental health patients by incentivising referrals to its toxic PREVENT programme

London – New counter-terrorism rules that will give doctors incentives to refer individuals with mental health issues to PREVENT shows that the government is exploiting the doctor-patient care responsibility in an attempt to increase subscription to its toxic PREVENT programme.

The rules stipulate that urgent psychiatric care will now be provided by mental health trusts to those people with psychological problems who are referred to Prevent. This will influence doctors to refer patients to PREVENT in order to speed up treatment times.

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, CAGE Director and GP said:

“This latest move highlights the government’s determination to further the toxic PREVENT agenda under the guise of safeguarding even if it is as the expense of the wellbeing of societies most vulnerable people.”

“The government is effectively channelling psychiatric cases into a securitised policy that has been proven to damage individuals and families. The effect on doctor-patient trust and patient health will be devastating.”

“Safeguarding and public sector ethics rely on trust, and making public sector workers the handmaidens of the state, not only erodes that trust but has made no tangible improvement to national security.”

 

CC image courtesy of Vic on Flikr


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

Boris Johnson’s attempt to whitewash British foreign policy is a denial of reality

London – Boris Johnson’s speech at the Foreign Office today claiming that British foreign policy is the solution for and not the cause of political violence, represents a complete denial of reality and an attempt by the government to dodge any responsibility for our current situation.

Armed groups and those imprisoned for political violence, cite British foreign policy as a key grievance. This has been acknowledged by countless voices of authority including, Baroness Manningham-Buller, a former director-general of MI5, who in 2010 said: “Our involvement in Iraq, for want of a better word, radicalised a whole generation of young people, some of them British citizens who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam.”

In fact, Britain cites threats of violence or actual violence by these armed groups as a justification to carry out its own violent military strikes.

Before he left office US President Barack Obama admitted that the creation of Islamic State was an “unintended consequence” of the US-led invasion of Iraq and its subsequent dismemberment.

Considering Iraq was invaded based on flawed evidence centred on “dodgy dossiers” and tortured evidence, Boris Johnson’s assertion that problems in the Middle East have increased because of Britain’s “aloofness” beggar belief. When he says “British foreign policy is not the problem; it is part of the solution” Johnson tramples on the beliefs and views of millions of ordinary British people.

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, director of CAGE, said:

“Mr Johnson’s comments give air to right-wing groups and follow on from his earlier statements on Brexit which have inspired a narrow, insular nationalism, the consequences of which are being felt not only by Muslims, but all right-minded people concerned with justice.”

“Mr Johnson makes no mention of the swathe of evidence testifying to how the rule of law has been consistently and brutally eroded by the ‘War on Terror’ both abroad and at home. Not acknowledging this as a root cause of violence that needs to be tackled urgently, is quite simply a denial of reality, if not an outright deception. As such, it takes us further from solutions and simply reinvigorates an already failing approach.”

[end]

Press enquiries:
press@cageuk.org

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

US strikes in Somalia must stop: CAGE Africa

Johannesburg – The latest air strikes  in Somalia by the United States that have killed almost 100 “militants” represent an acceleration in military activity that threatens the lives of civilians and will exacerbate and intensify political violence in the region.

Added to this, a recent US “investigation” into the killing of ten civilians including three children [2] by American troops in the town of Bariire must be interrogated and challenged for its denials of responsibility despite American bullet casings being found at the site of the killings.

CAGE Africa calls for the halting of US strikes and all hostilities in Somalia.

The air strikes, conducted in November, were ostensibly targeted at “militants”. However, the United States defines a “militant” as “a military aged male in a strike zone”, broadening the reach of drone and air strikes to include civilians, while keeping the civilian death count deceptively low.

US President Donald Trump has also given US Africa Command chiefs the right to approve strikes, as opposed to permission having to go through the Pentagon. This means that strikes no longer have to be conducted in self defence or only when US and AFRICOM targets are specifically threatened, but are conducted at the behest of military officers.

The acceleration of hostilities in Somalia will have a counter-productive effect.

Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

“US airstrikes and ground operations in Somalia are triumphantly touted as a war against terrorism by the public relations experts of US Central Command, but they hesitate to define “militants” when challenged to do so, and all evidence points to them targeting civilians in Bariire. However, the US gets impunity for these deaths behind carefully crafted language and ‘investigations’ that rely on bogus intelligence.”

“The fact that the world’s media does not interrogate this situation shows that less value is given to African Muslim life than any other community. This is an untenable state of play that will only give rise to more grievances and discord.”

“Nothing less than full accountability for violence committed against civilians and other abuses of the ‘War on Terror’ will bring an end to hostilities in Somalia. We call for this unequivocally.”

Press enquiries:
Karen Jayes
karen@cage.ngo

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.

New algorithm to predict crime will bring on a full spectrum surveillance state

London – A series of recommendations from an official review made public last week includes the development of a new algorithm to mine data and detect behaviour that could indicate future involvement in “terrorism”.

This is a threat to an open, accountable and non-partisan justice system that will shift the balance from an evidence-based approach to pre-crime – and it will move Britain closer to a full spectrum surveillance state despite Parliament and the public showing opposition to this.

Computers are only as objective and accurate as their programmers. This is proved by the devastation wrought by drone attacks and the broad and subjective nature of databases such as World Check, which has listed major charities, activists, and mainstream religious institutions under its category of “terrorism”.

Moreover, methods of intelligence gathering lack transparency as they are often covert and not open to the scrutiny of the justice system. This, along with the almost annual implementation of terror laws, means the rule of law continues to be eroded and the failures of the current approach rewarded, while the threat of political violence is still at a high.

Rather, what Britain needs is a fresh, innovative approach to the problem, which addresses root causes instead of bypassing this key issue and eroding the rights of all.

Muhammad Rabbani, CAGE International Director, said:

“Both the seizure of data without suspicion and the mining of this data with algorithms whose creation and methodology remain far from public scrutiny are a violation of due process. The public is unable to challenge the state’s methods and assumptions in both cases.”

“Rather than serving justice, prediction of future activity serves commercial and political interests which are orientated around an Islamophobic worldview, but which can be extended to other communities. As such they are nothing less than an attempt to extend the grip of the security state over all of us, and will create ever higher levels of mistrust and fear.”

“We call for an end to these counterproductive methods and a return to due process. Predicting the future by those intent on securing their political position is unprecedented, bound to be inaccurate, and is a threat to society.”

[END]

Press enquiries:

Ibrahim Mohamoud

press@cageuk.org

 


NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.