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     Press Statement: PoliceWatch - a new initiative by the Islamic Party of Britain - call for consultation 31 - August  -  2004



Following the events surrounding the unjustified arrest of the son of Islamic Party General Secretary Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher the Islamic Party office has been inundated with calls of Muslims and non-Muslims alike alleging police misconduct. The Islamic Party of Britain is intending to start PoliceWatch, an initiative to protect members of the public from transgressions by the police. In most cases the word of police officers is set against the word of the individual, and courts tend to believe police officers. In the latest case video evidence is available to redress this balance. After some initial consultation the Islamic Party intends to work towards implementing two proposals received so far: 

1. A "Call a Witness" service where individuals can telephone to have somebody come out and film police procedure in order to ensure that the police abide by the rules and to provide independent evidence where they don't. 

2. A "Name and Shame" register where members of the public can log their grievances against individual officers to root out "bad apples" within the force. 

"If the police are engaged in upholding the law, they have nothing to fear from these protective measures", Dr Bleher said, "but if they think themselves above the law, it is about time we did something about it." The Islamic Party of Britain is calling on other organisations to come up with suggestions and join the scheme to make it as broad-based and successful as possible. "This is the time for pulling together against the criminalisation of the community, not for organisational differences", Dr Bleher said. A pilot scheme is intended to be rolled out in Milton Keynes later this year to be followed by other schemes in major cities across the UK.  

Case Update: Posted 26th November 2004

Police drop knife charges against Muslim law student / call for Muslim lawyers' list

As previously reported Muslim law student Abdu-l-Muqtadir Mustaqim, son of Islamic Party of Britain general secretary Dr Sahib Bleher, had been arrested and held in custody over night on 23rd August this year and subsequently charged with two offences: disorderly behaviour and possession of a lock-knife.

During a pre-trial review at Milton Keynes Magistrate's Court today the prosecution withdrew the charge of possession of a lock-knife after its own experts admitted that the knife could only be classified as a legal pocket knife. A further pretrial review has been set for Wednesday 1st December. The Crown Prosecution Service is continuing to proceed with the other, minor charge and has asked for 18 witnesses to be heard, including police officers who have come forward to give evidence although they were not at the scene at the time.

A two-day trial has been set on 13 and 14 December for hearing the allegations against Mr Mustaqim, the maximum penalty for which, if convicted, would be a small fine, and it has been suggested that the trial might need to be extended for at least another day. This could well turn out to be the most lengthy and expensive case under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, yet the prosecution insist that to continue the case is justified as being in the public interest, a test they have to meet when deciding whether to prosecute or not.

Mr Mustaqim hopes that the trial will be an opportunity to present evidence about police brutality and abuse of process as well as showing how the police cover up for each other once having violated established procedure instead of rooting out malpractice amongst their staff. He questions how police can justify jumping on him and putting him into handcuffs for something he allegedly said (accusing police of 
being racist), as the dropping of the knife charge is a further admission that at no stage did he pose a danger to any of the officers involved or resisted them in any way.

He was held without feeding for over ten hours in police cells and emerged bruised and injured the following morning. An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been commenced to look into the conduct of the officers involved, but had to be put on hold awaiting the outcome of the criminal case currently before the Court.

The Islamic Party is also appealing to all Muslim lawyers to forward their details for the purpose of compiling a register of expertise Muslims in the UK can call upon when faced with police harrassment.

Islamic Party of Britain

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