Sunday, 25 May 2008

University Clerk Threatened With Deportation

IMAGE: Nottingham University

Hicham Yezza, one of two men arrested under the Terrorism Act at Nottingham University and then released last week, has been threatened with deportation to Algeria as early as next Sunday.

The two were arrested after the second man, Rizwaan Sabir, a politics grad student, downloaded an edited Al-Qaeda training manual from a US Government website (PDF). He then asked Yezza to print the manual for him.

Once it became clear that Sabir, who was researching Islamic terrorism for his dissertation, had a legitimate academic interest in the material, Yezza and Sabir were released without charge.

Until, that is, Yezza was re-arrested under charges relating to his immigration status and moved to an immigration detention centre, amid claims of visa irregularities.

This despite the fact that he has been resident in the UK for 13 years, undertook undergraduate and postgraduate study here, and is now an employee of Nottingham University.

There may or may not be truth to the allegations of irregularities, but the speed at which the Home Office are attempting to remove Hicham Yezza from the UK without a proper hearing is suggestive of an attempt by the authorities to cover for official incompetence.

"It seems to me that this is a clumsy response under anti-terrorism legislation to the incident at Nottingham University. I can see no reason for an emergency deportation other than to cover the embarrassment of police and intelligence services." - Alan Simpson MP

If he is deported, there are concerns that Yezza could face groundless charges and may even be subjected to torture in Algeria.

An online campaign and Facebook group have been set up to support Hicham Yezza - calling for him to at least be given time to prepare his case and a proper hearing. There will also be a demonstration at Nottingham University on Wednesday.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The way this eloquent scholar has been treated is a disgrace and shames Britain. We were already losing international students to other E.U. countries and to the U.S., and this will doubtless speed up the process by which internationals stop coming altogether.