Britain Wrongly Fighting Arab Activist: Palestinian Leader Wins Appeal Against UK Deportation Order


British Home Secretary Theresa May has been delivered another blow in the courts, this time by the British judicary. Over Easter, the Upper Immigration Tribunal ruled that the banned Sheikh Raed Salah should not have been prevented from speaking in the UK. This new ruling comes on the back of the rangling case with Abu Qatada who May is currently trying to send back to Jordan. With the recent debate focusing on tearing up the Human Rights Act, this recent ruling shows us all that it is justice that should always prevail and maybe May should reconsider her position.

The judgment ruled that: “We have no difficulty in concluding that the Secretary of State’s decision has not been shown to be proportionate to the need to preserve community harmony or to protect the United Kingdom from the dangers to which the policy refers.” The Home Secretary may have been persuaded by outside influencers.

The Palestinian activist came to Britain even though he was on a banned list of people who could stir up racial hatred. The leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel came through Heathrow Airport on June 25, 2011 undetected, but was arrested three days later. Home Secretary Theresa May served a deportation order saying that his presence in the UK was "not conductive to public good."

Sheikh Raed Salah has been living in the UK whilst fighting the decision to clear his name. The case was resolved on April 5 when the senior immigration judge and vice president of the tribunal, Justice Ockelton, stated that the arguments brought forward by Home Secretary Theresa May were very weak. There seems to have been no lawful basis for the secretary of state to implement the exclusion order. The judgement contained a further damning statement: “There is no evidence that the danger perceived by the Secretary of State is perceived by any of the other countries where the appellant has been, nor, save for the very tardy indictment, is there any evidence that even Israel sees the danger that the Secretary of State sees.”

The British Muslim Initiative has called the ruling unprecedented and believes that the home secretary was misled by pro-Israel activists. The matter should not be taken lightly, especially when hundreds of thousands of pounds have been squandered in the interests of a foreign country.

Sheikh Raed Salah had planned to attend meetings and public engagements for 10 days last year. His legal team argued that he was not aware of the ban, used his own passport with his real name and had not tried to conceal his identity. An appeal was made by Mike Freer, Conservative MP for Fincley and Golders Green, who suggested that Salah should be banned due to his history of virulent anti-semitism. Freer said: "I have been questioning the propriety of providing a platform to a speaker who reportedly peddles the conspiracy theories of Jewish involvement in the 9/11 plots."

The Home Office was disappointed with the tribunal’s decision and will consider the detailed judgment with the aim of appealing if they can. British campaigners insist that Salah was not a threat and the leader of a legitimate political organisation. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: "I trust that there will be a serious attempt by the British Government to rely in the future on accurate evidence rather than inaccurate anti-Palestinian propaganda against someone who has a history of opposing Israel's crimes and violations of international law."

The real question that needs to be asked is why the home secretary keeps on getting her decision wrong. It seems that every case she has been on has failed in either the European courts or the appeal courts. More questions need to be made in this case rather than focusing on the rendition trials of the previous government, which is the story currently in the headlines this morning. Does Mike Freer’s membership of Conservative Friends of Israel have anything to play in originally calling for the deportation? Is this another case of cash for access and possible influence of policy? Is the Home Secretary capable of doing her own independent research into dubious characters? Will the Home Secretary admit to being misled?