Director charged after refusal to disclose computer passwords
A director of a controversial campaign group which came to prominence in 2015 after it praised a notorious terrorist has been arrested under the Terrorism Act.
Cage managing director Muhammad Rabbani was arrested at Heathrow Airport under counter-terrorism stop-and-search powers for failing to disclose passwords to computer equipment.
Cage caused outrage in 2015, when one of its senior members described ISIS executioner ‘Jihadi John’ as a ‘beautiful young man’.
The 27-year-old Londoner was killed on November 12 after US intelligence killed him with a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria.
A spokesman for Cage said Rabbani was charged with wilfully obstructing or seeking to frustrate a search examination under Schedule 7 over the incident in November after taking a “principled stance”.
Moazzam Begg, outreach director for Cage, said: “Rabbani’s courage and principle in these circumstances has been an inspiration to the community. We continue to support him in his efforts to protect the privacy of us all, and to free Muslims from the constant harassment of Schedule 7 at airports.”
“At the core of this issue is the protection of crucial evidence of torture, the key to holding high ranking officials accountable for an international crime. This will be a landmark case that will test the rule of law and justice in the ‘War on Terror’.”
“I know what it is like to be forced to give your password to the authorities. In Bagram, I was tortured into surrendering my password. My colleague Rabbani was safeguarding vital and sensitive testimony, given to him by a victim of torture. Considering both the US and British Governments have been found complicit and responsible for the torture and abuse of hundreds of individuals, it is perfectly right that Rabbani does everything he can to ensure these crimes are accounted for.”
Between 2007 and 2014, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust gave grants to Cage totaling £271,250. In a similar period, the Roddick Foundation, founded by Anita Roddick, gave grants totaling £120,000.
Following pressure from the Charity Commission, which had expressed concern that funding the group risked damaging public confidence in charity, both entities agreed to cease funding.
The Rowntree Trust defended its funding saying: "We believe (Cage) has played an important role in highlighting the ongoing abuses at Guantanamo Bay and at many other sites around the world, including many instances of torture.”