Alex Massie

Tales from Labour Britain: Illegal Document Department

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Via Samizdata, this seems to be a quite appalling story. The Guardian reports that:

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

Mind you, I don't think there's any real reason to suppose that the Tories, had they been charged with mismanaging affairs these past ten years, would have been very much, if at all, more sympathetic to civil liberties than "New" Labour has been. 

According to Mr Sabir:

they read me a statement confirming it was an illegal document which shouldn't be used for research purposes. To this day no one has ever clarified that point.

Well, no, I don't suppose they have. But of course it's only cranks and crackpots who care about these things.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.