When a Muslim taxi driver refuses to become a counter-terrorism informant, police – with Prevent officers in attendance – raid his home, and he subsequently loses his taxi license.
NT helped to run a “dawah stall” in which he distributed educational material on Islam. One day, he was requested to attend a meeting at the police station as the police said that his car had potentially been the “victim of cloning” and that he had to come to the station to give a statement.
However, when NT arrived at the police station he described the encounter as a “long discussion” in which they “wanted to get me to sell out”.
Shockingly, instead of being questioned about his car, NT was requested to spy on “Muslims, mosques and Islamic institutes”, which he refused to do.
He was invited to a similar meeting to discuss the same at a garden centre in his local area, where he also refused.
A few days later, he received a visit from the local Prevent officer and an officer from South East Counter-Terrorism Unit, who alleged that he had visited websites that contained “terrorist material”. NT then said that if they had anything against him, they should arrest him.
After this, NT’s house was raided pursuant to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act , in relation to “the preparation for terrorism activities”. The allegations were that he intended to travel to Syria and he was financing terrorism.
Prevent personnel were present during the raid, and they spoke to NT’s wife. After his arrest, the police notified the local authority.
NT, a taxi driver by profession, was then informed that the council had suspended his licence as a taxi driver in order to “preserve public safety”.
A number of items were taken from NT. This included all his electronic items, his wife’s phone and his son’s tablet. His clothes were also taken; these included his coat, shoes, gloves and a rucksack. Other items confiscated include his toiletries and Islamic CDs. An itemised list of the belongings that had been taken, was not provided.
NT was released without charge on bail until 15 April 2015 with a number of restrictions. He had to sign in at the police station on a daily basis and did not have the freedom to associate with some of this friends.
While this case has a number of worrying aspects about the treatment of NT, a major concern is NT’s loss of employment.
Although he lost his licence as a taxi driver to “preserve public safety”, he was never told how he had put the public’s safety at risk in the first place. This meant that the local authority acquiesced to the wishes of the police to suspend NT’s taxi licence even though NT was yet to be convicted of any criminal offence.
Photo by Possessed Photography/Unsplash