Usman Ali, a London based Muslim priest, has grown used to the usual, at whatever time he passes through an airport on his way in or out of the United Kingdom, high security measures. Ali says, as he steps in the airport for a flight, he is blocked by the UK police and is questioned without the right to be silent and without an access to a lawyer. His mobile phone and laptop are observed for getting data. Ali is also obliged to give fingerprints and DNA sample and photographed frequently.
Usman Ali is a London based Muslim who frequently travels as a part of his job for a charitable trust delivering assist to Syrian refugees. Ali says, this year he has been stopped six times by the UK police and many times earlier to that, regularly for many hours. Ali said that, usually it is ‘Metropolitan Police Specialist Counter Terrorism Branch’ that frequently stops me.
According to schedule ”7″ of Terrorism Act, police and other officials are able to use this practice for state safety and sovereignty. This divisive piece of legislation allows them to keep in custody anyone even without sensible cause for doubt.
‘’As soon as I sat down, I said, here is my laptop, here is my mobile phone, I do not need to inform anybody, I do not need a glass of water, I do not need a solicitor, just get on with the questioning.’’ Ali told Al Jazeera about the current encounter at Luton Airport.
Usman Ali’s personality is controversial, in some eyes, he is an extremist figure. He is a previous affiliate of Al Muhjaroun, a banned British based Islamist group, Ali said, he has come apart with the group over tactics in year 2003.
Ali believes that he is being under attack by the UK police because once he refused to work as an informer for MI5 (The Metropolitan Police Specialist Counter Terrorism Branch), an internal security agency of the United Kingdom. Ali said that MI5 officials consequently approached him two times, the first time when he went to a police car pound where his car had been held after his capture.
Ali told, ‘’they said, look we know that you are penniless, we can help you and then one of them opened a briefcase loaded with banknotes. I swear I have never seen so many banknotes before. They pretty accurately put it in my hand and said, receive it, its all yours, we will talk about it afterward.’’
‘’I said, ‘there is nothing I can do for you. I am not going to work as an informer for you. I am not going to live on your payroll for the rest of my life. Just leave me alone, I stormed, grabbed my car and got out of there.’’
Ali told Al Jazeera ‘’regular encounter and harassment by security service agents since then is because of my denial to work as an informer with MI5. I think it has now come to a tip that they are trying to lay me under stress.’’
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