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Cage director found guilty for refusing cops’ ‘digital strip search’

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Issue 2573


Moazzam Begg was among the supporters outside court
Moazzam Begg was among the supporters outside court (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The international director of Cage, a human rights group, was found guilty this week of an offence under the Terrorism Act.

Muhammad Rabbani had refused to give police his mobile phone pin or his laptop password at Heathrow airport in November.

He was convicted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of wilfully obstructing a stop and search. He has vowed to appeal.

Rabbani was charged under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, which gives officers the power to stop and search people “with or without suspicion”. Outside the court Rabbani said the powers amounted to a “digital strip search”.

They give the police the power to snoop on anyone they deem suspicious. Some 99.98 percent of those stopped are never charged.

Dozens of supporters gathered outside the court in solidarity with Rabbani.

Rabbani said his devices contained confidential information on a victim of torture. PC Chaudhry admitted that he had not informed Rabbani that he didn’t have to hand over information relating to his role as director of a company that he had been given in confidence.

The Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command has admitted they are still trying to access his devices.

Rabbani was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £600 costs, along with a £20 victim surcharge.

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