Sunday, 8 March 2009

Libellous Lord Ahmed

From Pakistan's Associated Press:

LONDON, March 5 (APP)‑ A number of British politicians and members of the UK‑based Pakistan Diaspora pledged their complete and all outsupport for the incarcerated Lord Nazir Ahmed while lauding his contribution to the British society in the context of the community relations and his role at the international platform.
Mirpur‑born Labour Peer is presently undergoing a 12‑week jail sentence on account of dangerous driving that resulted in a fatal motorway accident near his home town of Rotherham, north‑east England in December 2007.
The support campaign was launched on Wednesday evening at East London district of Leyton where a number of speakers praised the services rendered by him and the great respect he has earned worldwide due to his continued commitment in seeking justice across the globe...
Another Muslim MP Khalid Mahmood in his message read out at the meeting said,” Lord Ahmed has been outstanding advocate for the Muslim community and has given confidence and inspiration to Muslims across the UK and the globe. From Palestine and Kashmir to Sudan and Kosovo he has spoken up for the underprivileged and the underrepresented.”
Lord Ahmed’s colleague Lord Patel and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi also spoke on the occasion and said the Labour Peer has earned respect due to the numerous actions he has done both nationally and internationally. Ms.Warsi said Lord Ahmed had always stood for principles and justice and who build bridges between the white and the non‑white British communities. Glasgow MP Muhammad Sarwar in his address said Lord Nazir has been sentenced on account of dangerous driving and no death charge has been levelled against him.
He said there was no truth in apprehension within the Muslim community that he would be stripped of his Lordship. He is a life peer and cannot be deprived of his honour.
Sarwar said according to the legal experts the custodial sentence awarded to Lord Ahmed was excessive and that he has valid grounds to appeal against the verdict.
Event organiser Barrister Abid Hussein thought that Lord Ahmed has been awarded excessive punishment as he had ruffled the feathers of the higher authorities because of his strong views and support on various social and political issues notably the 42‑day detention period, war on Iraq and his pro‑Palestinian stance.


I find this campaign very distasteful indeed; a human being lost his life through Ahmed's recklessness, and no amount of 'good works' can recompense the man, his family or the impact he may have had on society.
What gives me particular cause for concern is the final paragraph, the most pertinent part of which I have highlighted. If an appeal is to be brought against the judges who committed Ahmed to prison for the extremely lenient term of twelve weeks, it will set a dangerous precedent. The grounds (as far as I can see; there may be many more) upon which said appeal may be brought is by 
1) evoking Articles 5 (4) of the HRA: the right to contest the lawfulness of detention by citing that under 10.78 a magistrate may be liable if he has been deemed to have acted in 'bad faith'. 
2) If the Community-Cohesion-multicultural-equality-diversity bunch can argue that Ahmed was imprisoned not by virtue of the crime he committed but because of his political beliefs using HRA 15.163 citing cases such as Handyside v United Kingdom (1976) and 17.134 (political discrimination) and even argue a case for compensation (10.159). These examples are just off the top of my head...
If Ahmed is freed on these grounds and is able to gain compensation he will not only strike a seminal blow over the judiciary by the executive but set a precedent for thousands of cases to be retried on the grounds of 'bad faith' citing political motivation or personal discrimination against the convicted. 
It goes to show just what a hellish invention the HRA is: a nice idea in theory; in practice a nightmare.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Mara.. have they had any response from UKGOV over this yet? I haven't seen anything.

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  2. Hi, Sue. How's the flu?
    I haven't seen anything either - very, very worrying: I'm going to be writing to my MP listing out all the points re legal precedents that I made above. In effect, if the power of our judiciary is eroded through the incessant need to kow-tow to 'cohesion' lobbyists, we might as well not have law courts at all. A point made abundantly clear by Harriet Harman over Goodwin's pension: she didn't care that to revoke it would be to break Contract Law and thus set a disastrous precedent for all UK contracts. The government just wanted to prove that it, rather than the judiciary, was in control.

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  3. The guy would have got three years if he was anybody else. Our Jack had a quiet word. Muttered something about pensions and weekends at Chequers. Good at carrot and stick is our Jack.

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  4. What else can you expect from someone who considers Stalin ('just call me Joe') to be his greatest role model?

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Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison