Elham Asaad Buaras
The decision to bail a right-wing terror suspect despite the discovery of a nail bomb has prompted a Muslim academic wrongfully accused of terrorism and detained for six days without charge for downloading a document to question the police’s reluctance to use pre-charge terror detention on right-wing terror suspects.
The 19-year-old serving British soldier has been bailed until January after the unearthing of the bomb which led to the evacuation of a street in Salford, for over 8 hours while specialist officers assessed it “no longer [posed] a threat to the community.”
The man from Eccles was arrested under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act on December 2 after the police found the nail bomb along with extreme right wing leaflets in a house in Mellor Street, while executing a warrant about images of abuse on a computer, for which 20-year-old man was arrested.
The soldier was arrested by the Royal Military Police in Paderborn, Germany, where he was serving and flown back on suspicion of terrorism offences after the raid on November 28.
Greater Manchester Police launched a counter terrorism investigation and the Military Police is now probing the incident.
He has also been questioned about suspected links to right-wing extremism.
Residents spoke of their shock immediately after the bomb discovery. John Crawford, 64, said: “ In 10 years living here it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this. It’s scary.”
A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Police told The Muslim News that “not enough evidence” was found to charge the soldier and that “enquiries were ongoing.”
Police would not provide details of whether or not the use of pre-charge detention was considered.
And in a statement to The Muslim News a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said they have “not been asked to make a charging decision in this case yet. We have only been asked for early investigative advice, which we have provided.”
Under anti-terror laws suspects could be locked up and questioned for up to 14 days without being charged.
Rizwaan Sabir, who was researching terrorist tactics for a Master’s degree at the University of Nottingham in 2008, was held under the Terrorism Act for seven days without charge.
Sabir was wrongfully accused by police of downloading an al-Qa’ida training manual for terrorist purposes. He had downloaded the manual from a US Government website for his research which could be bought at WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon as well as the university’s own library.
Sabir, who is now a researcher at the University of Bath, spoke to The Muslim News about what he views as the contrasting treatment of Muslim and right-wing terror suspects.
“Members of Muslim communities often find themselves being subject to arrest and charge for merely possessing extremist literature, in most cases, where there is no sign of an explosive device, let alone a terrorist intent. Yet in this instance, where far-right extremist literature has been found in conjunction with an explosive device, there have been no criminal charges, let alone for terrorism. It seems that we’re all equal, but some are more equal than others.”