Independent Media Centre Ireland

Aamar Anwar Found Not Guilty

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Tuesday July 01, 2008 14:13author by Darren Cauthor email offensieftegenracisme at yahoo dot co dot uk

Scottish Human Rights lawyer Aamar Anwar, who faced contempt of court charges over statements he made on behalf of his client Mohammed Atif Siddique, convicted last year of “terrorism” as a result of activities on the internet, has been found not guilty.

Following today's judgment, Mr Anwar said he welcomed the finding of no contempt: "As a defence lawyer I never set out to win a popularity contest, but I was taught it is a lawyer's duty to fearlessly represent his clients no matter what crime he is accused of or how demonised he is by society”.

He went on to say, “"As our Government criminalises communities and creates 'thought crime', lawyers still have a responsibility to be the guardians of our liberties and to campaign against injustice.”

Aamer Anwar has earned a reputation as one of the most prominent human rights lawyers in Scotland today. He has diligently defended asylum-seekers and has represented victims of the 'war on terror', who were accused of terrorism, and who where eventually proved innocent of the charges laid against them. In 2005, he helped campaigners negotiate a way to the G8 Summit at Gleneagles and defended demonstrators arrested during the protests.

Upon Siddique’s conviction, Anwar made a statement to the press on Siddique’s behalf, denouncing the verdict. The statement claimed that Siddique was convicted for “doing what millions of people do everyday, looking for answers on the Internet.” Anwar also criticised elements of the conduct of the judge and prosecution during the trial and stated that the prosecution was conducted in an atmosphere of pressure from the state following the failed attacks on Glasgow airport.

The bogus "terror" charges levelled at Atif Siddique makes a criminal offence out of a belief shared by almost every society, religion or philosophy throughout history: namely that people have the right to take up arms against tyranny and foreign occupation. The attempts to criminalise peaceful opponents of British imperialism – such as Aamar Anwar, the Raytheon 9 and Islamist groups such as Hizb ut Tahir – demonstrate the superficiality and hypocrisy of New Labour with regard to civil liberties and fundamental human rights and expose the the violent, arbitrary and ugly faces of its legal institutions

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