Radical clerics may face treason charges - Omar Bakri Mohammed flees country in wake of London bombings
August 9, 2005
MIM:The whole idea of prosecuting Omar Bakri for treason is impossible for the simple reason that Bakri is not a British citizen . As a non citizen Bakri does not meet any of the conditions or definitions of treason which is defined as by Wikipedia as follows:
Prosecution of treason cases are difficult and that that few lawyers and courts have experience with such cases. It also appears that treason charges could not be brought against anyone who is not a British citizen which makes it all the more puzzling as to why the UK government would consider this as a viable measure to take against radical Islamist anti West and UK incitement. The last treason conviction in the UK occurred in 1981 against a 17 year old who tried to shoot the Queen. The last execution for treason in Britain was that of Lord Haw Haw, aka WIlliam Joyce, who left the UK for Germany where he broadcast anti ally propaganda on behalf of the Nazis. http://www.irishreader.com/Features/Joyce.htm
Radical clerics who support terrorism could be charged with treason, British police and prosecutors have proposed. The attorney general and director of public prosecutions are examining three cases in which treason charges could be brought. The Crown Prosecution Service's head of anti-terrorism will meet officers from Scotland Yard later this week to discuss the proposals. Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian-born cleric who founded militant Islamic group al-Muhajiroun; Abu Uzair, a former member of the group; and Abu Izzadeen, spokesman for al-Ghurabaa (the Strangers), are all expected to come in for scrutiny. However some lawmakers have questioned whether treason is the most appropriate charge to be brought in such cases. The government's reviewer of anti-terror laws, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile, said he did not think there was a lawyer alive and working who had ever appeared in any part of a treason case. The last person to be convicted of treason was Marcus Simon Serjeant, a 17-year-old jailed for five years in 1981 after shooting a starting pistol at the queen as she rode past in the Trooping of the Color. However the most famous case in modern Britain was that of William Joyce -- Lord Haw Haw -- who broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda from Berlin during the World War II. The charge carries a penalty of life imprisonment; however it was only in 1998 that the death penalty was abolished. News of the move came just days after Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a crackdown on Islamic militants who preach hate. As part of a raft of new counter-terrorism measures, al-Muhajiroun and its successor group, the Savior Sect, will be banned, as will avowedly non-violent Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Advocating, justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere will become an offense, and involvement with listed extremist bookshops, religious centers or organizations could be grounds for deportation. The government will also consult on new powers to keep radical preachers out of Britain and to close religious centers used to foment extremism. The latest announcement led Conservative Home Affairs Spokesman Edward Garnier to accuse the government of confusion and sending "mixed signals." One day they were unveiling new laws and the next they were discussing the use of existing powers, he told the BBC. "These ideas may work but they need to be thought about, and they don't need to be floated in the Sunday papers," he said. But Lord Carlile said he would be "very surprised" if treason charges were used. "I think it's remotely possible, but treason law is very specific," he told BBC Radio. "I suspect that there are far more appropriate crimes already on the statute book that might be used." "I don't think there is a lawyer still alive and working who has ever appeared in any part of a treason case," he added. "...Treason tends to apply to wars between nations." Carlile argued existing laws such as charges of solicitation or incitement to murder could be more appropriate. Any new laws had to be proportional, enforceable and understood by the public and those who might break them, he emphasized. A former leader of al-Muhahjiroun, Anjam Choudry, said it would be unfair to apply the treason law now for statements made in the past. "On the one hand the government says you have freedom of expression, but on the other it wants to backdate things that people have said so they could face criminal charges, which is a betrayal in itself," he told ITV. Tony Blair's team played down the proposals, saying they were simply looking at all the available options. Should the Crown Prosecution Service decide to go ahead with the charges, they will examine closely remarks made in the media and to followers by the radical preachers Omar Bakri Mohammed prompted outrage when he told Channel 4 last week that he would not inform the police if he knew Muslims were planning a bomb attack in Britain. In January he told a conference of up to 500 militants in London -- reported by United Press International -- to take up violent jihad in Britain. Speaking to United Press International later, he called on all Muslims to unite in a coalition behind al-Qaida with Osama Bin Laden as their leader. Abu Izzadeen has refused to condemn the July 7 bombings and told BBC Newsnight last week that it was such "Mujahidin activity" that would make people "wake up and smell the coffee." Abu Uzair, a former member of al-Muhajiroun now understood to be part of the Savior Sect, told the same program that the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States were magnificent. He said that Muslims had previously accepted a "covenant of security," which meant that they should not resort to violence in Britain because they were not under threat here. However this had now been broken, and with the July 7 attacks, "the banner has been risen for jihad inside the U.K." he said
Radical Muslim clerics in Britain could find themselves under threat of being prosecuted or expelled under anti-terror measures proposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair. Clerics being closely watched include:
-OMAR BAKRI MOHAMMED: Came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia. Founded the now-disbanded radical Islamic group al-Muhajiroun. The group repeatedly came under scrutiny, particularly after the Sept. 11 attacks, which some members praised. Bakri is from Syria, but his wife's family is Lebanese and he has citizenship in both Syria and Lebanon. He left for Lebanon last weekend but says he hopes to return to Britain.
-ABU IZZADEEN: Describes himself as the spokesman for the Islamic group al-Ghurabaa. British-born and of Jamaican descent. Reportedly converted to Islam at age 17. Has been quoted as saying Britain's failure to accept a "cease-fire" from Osama bin Laden led to the July 7 attacks in London. Al-Ghurabaa called on Britons not to vote in the last general election.
-OMAR MAHMOUD ABU OMAR: A Palestinian better known as Abu Qatada. Granted political asylum in Britain in 1993. Sentenced in Jordan in absentia for his alleged involvement in a series of explosions and terror plots. Regarded as Osama bin Laden's spiritual ambassador in Europe and allegedly an inspiration for Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Spent three years in a high security British prison without being charged, under anti-terror powers introduced after the Sept. 11 attacks. Released in March after Britain's highest court ruled the legislation breached human rights. Electronically tagged and required to live under a curfew. Likely to be deported to Jordan.
-ABU UZAIR: Reportedly a former member of al-Muhajiroun and believed part of its successor organization, the Saviour Sect. Told BBC "Newsnight" that the Sept. 11 attacks were "magnificent." Says he is a British citizen.
-ABU HAMZA AL-MASRI: Regarded as one of Britain's most radical clerics. The Egyptian-born preacher - who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan - was a cleric at Finsbury Park mosque, long a magnet for extremist Muslims. In custody, awaiting trial on charges that include encouraging the murder of Jews and other non-Muslims and using threatening or abusive language. Has pleaded innocent to all charges