Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Nottingham Arrests: Demonstration Tomorrow

IMAGE: Free Hicham Yezza blog

A demonstration is to take place at Nottingham University tomorrow afternoon in defence of academic freedom and in protest at the arrest and detention for six days of a student and a clerk at the university under the Terrorism Act.

The student, Rizwaan Sabir and the clerk, Hicham Yezza, were arrested two weeks ago after downloading an Al-Qaeda training manual that was freely available from a US Government website for research purposes.

Sabir reports being told by police following his arrest that the manual is "an illegal document which shouldn't be used for research purposes". In protest at the disproportionate actions of University authorities and the police, students and academics are to give a public reading of the material at the campus.

This demonstration is given added importance because of the serious threat to the liberty of the second man, Hicham Yezza. Yezza was re-arrested on unspecified immigration charges and is threatened with deportation to Algeria - after 13 years studying and working in the UK - as early as next Sunday (1 June).

A petition (DOC) has been distributed calling on the University to acknowledge the disproportionate response (the arrests were precipitated by University authorities), to take steps to ensure respect for freedom of expression, and to lobby for the release of Hicham Yezza.

A separate online petition has been set up by the campaign to free Hicham Yezza, calling on the Home Office to halt his rushed deportation to Algeria and give him a chance to make his case before a court of law.

More information: Free Hicham Yezza campaign blog

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