Manchester: Farooqi family faces collective punishment / FRFI 224 December 2011/January 2012

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 224 December 2011/January 2012

At the beginning of September in Manchester, Munir Farooqi, Israr Malik and Matthew Newton were convicted under the Terrorism Act of attempting to recruit people to go to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban against British and US occupation forces. Now, not only has Munir been given a life sentence, but his family is facing eviction from their home by the courts in an act of vindictive collective punishment.

Munir and his brothers ran Islamic information stalls in Manchester which distributed religious literature. The police operation that led to Munir and the two other men being convicted lasted for over a year and involved two undercover police officers joining the stalls and pretending to convert to Islam. At the end of the trial Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) admitted, ‘this was an extremely challenging case, both to investigate and successfully prosecute at court, because we did not recover any blueprint, attack plan or endgame for these men’. In other words it was the evidence of these two undercover cops that was crucial to the conviction of Munir and his brothers. Harris Farooqi, Munir’s son, was also on trial but was found not guilty; Harris has stated that the undercover cops had been engaged in a systematic attempt to entrap him.

After the guilty verdict for Munir was announced, the NWCTU and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) informed the Farooqi family that they were going to apply to the court to seize their family home in Longsight, Manchester. This is the first time that the state has attempted to seize property belonging to people convicted under the Terrorism Act. The announcement came just weeks after the Labour council declared it would evict families of people convicted of offences during the uprisings/riots in August.

This act of collective punishment against the family will affect seven people who live in the house including two children, one a baby. The police say that the home was the base for Munir’s ‘terrorist activity’ and is therefore liable for seizure. As Munir’s alleged crimes only involve discussing religious and ideological issues with members of the public, anybody who has a different political or ideological view from the state had better beware. According to the police the house was a store of terrorist-related propaganda but the report of the trial in The Guardian said that ‘Officers found three books and three DVDs that were considered terrorist publications at Farooqi's home among more than 50,000 books and leaflets and more than 5,000 recordings.’

A campaign to ‘Save the family home’ www.savethefamilyhome.com has been set up and within four weeks 13,000 petition signatures supporting the family had been collected. These petitions were handed in to the CPS on 8 November. The next day in a show of contempt for the family and their supporters the CPS went ahead with their application to the court for the seizure of the family home. The case will probably come to court in March 2012. We cannot let the state get away with this act of collective punishment, and FRFI supporters in Manchester will be actively supporting the campaign.

Bob Shepherd

 

Save South Manchester Law Centre!

smlcManchester FRFI is supporting the campaign to Save South Manchester Law Centre (SMLC).  On 25 October 120 people, mainly migrant workers, attended a packed campaign meeting at the Pakistani Community Centre in Longsight, Manchester. This was the third public meeting since the decision of the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to reduce funding to the Law Centre to deliver special legal services in asylum, immigration and human rights to vulnerable members of an impoverished community.

SMLC has been providing free legal advice for 35 years and is now under serious threat of closure.  On top of the cuts in immigration law funding, Manchester City Council is cutting funding to the Law Centre for housing, welfare, employment, and domestic violence and women's rights advice services. SMLC has already lost five of its 15 staff and has only weeks of funding left.

 

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Manchester picket rolls in support of Palestine, 3 July 2010

manchester-picketAround 25 people took part in a lively protest in Manchester on 3rd July to call for a boycott of Israeli goods, in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. In a rolling picket organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! protesters demonstrated outside shops and banks to expose the reactionary nature of the British government’s support for the fascist Israeli state and its genocidal occupation of Palestine. Many passers by stopped to offer support.

The protest started outside Lloyds bank, which has denied a British organisation the right to provide funds to the Palestinian charity, Interpal. In times where the multi-million pound bonuses of rich bankers are no secret, and when the real nature of the parasitic and unstable banking system has become clearer to ordinary people, the public in Manchester were unsurprised that a British bank would sink to such levels as refusing to allow vital funds to get to Palestine. Outside the bank, and throughout the day, hundreds of passers by stopped to find out more information.

There were lively scenes as the picket moved on to Marks and Spencer, a company with a long history of support for the racist Israeli state. A lot of people in Manchester remember our comrades for their picket of the Market Street store that was a constant feature for over four years, withstanding attacks from the police, council and organised racists. Activists spoke on the megaphone about Marks and Spencers' continuing backing for Israel, as a key member of the British-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, and as a symbol of successive British governments' political and economic support for Israel. People stopped and gave donations to our campaign, and there was a lot of sympathy for the people of Gaza, who continue to suffer under a brutal blockade. The recent attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, in which 9 international activists were murdered by the Israeli military, is fresh in the minds of many people.

The protest continued outside Schuh, a footwear store which sells Caterpillar boots and shoes. Caterpillar provides military bulldozers to the Israeli army, which uses house demolition as a 'punishment' tool against whole Palestinian commuinities who dare to resist occupartion. We also picketed Tesco, which sells a large amount of Israeli food produce, asking people not to buy from the racist regime. Finally, we spent the last part of our protest outside H&M, which has recently invested in Israel, announcing plans to open 7 stores there. A lot of people stopped to hear what we had to say and many were surprised that the company was involved in propping up the Zionist state.

Overall the day of action was a great success and the support we were given showed that there is still a basis for building solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Hundreds of people stopped to sign the petitions; we sold out of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! newspapers, selling 72 on the day; and we collected nearly £300 to help build our campaign. FRFI Manchester intends to build on this success and develop our work to support the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian people.

Free Palestine!
Boycott the racist Israeli state!

 

Roundup of recent events - August

Roundup of recent events - August

Comrades in Manchester have been working hard to build the anti racist movement through the North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG). This involves more and more going out to working class areas to promote protests and campaigns against the government's racist policies of impoverishment, imprisonment and deportation of people seeking asylum.

Halima Aboubacar, a 20 year old refugee from Cameroon with two children, was made to attend a hearing on 15 May. The appeal has since been rejected and Halima, her 1 year old son Bailey Jr and her new baby daughter Farida (both born in Britain) now face deportation to Cameroon, away from Halima's partner in Swinton. If this is allowed to happen Halima fears that her children may be taken from her, as was her first child before she fled. NWASDG is continuing to fight alongside Halima and her children for their right to live in Britain. At the same time we must continue to draw the links: Halima's case is one in thousands, all victims of racist immigration controls which must be scrapped.

NWASDG has continued to support protests organised by Congo Support Project. Most recently this included the Congo Independence Day march on 30 June and demonstrations outside Dallas Court reporting centre in Salford, where asylum seekers are forced to sign on every month, every week or in some cases every day, not knowing whether they will disappear and be deported. NWASDG held a picket of Dallas Court on 18th June, an event supported by the International Organisation of Iranian Refugees, who pointed at the hypocrisy of the British government in its hostility to Iran while at the same time refusing asylum rights to Iranians fleeing the theocratic regime.

At the invitation of Tameside African Refugee Association NWASDG were invited to speak about 'fighting 3rd world poverty' at the organisation's conference in Gorton on 23 June. An NWASDG/FRFI speaker spoke in detail about imperialism as the biggest cause of human suffering, especially for oppressed nations, talking about the role of US, British and other multinational companies and banks exploiting the peoples and resources of Africa, the Middle East and beyond. He gave this as the context of masses of refugees fleeing the war and poverty this creates. The speaker concluded by showing Cuba as representing the socialist alternative to the iniquities of global capitalism.

On 24 June RCG/FRFI joined the Stop the War Coalition's demonstration in Manchester on the day of Gordon Brown's coronation as Prime Minister. We formed a small but noisy contingent on the march and were joined by the CPGB(ML) and others in chanting slogans in solidarity with the Iraqi resistance and against Labour imperialism. The demonstration's organisers, using the slogan 'Change the policy, not just the leader,' kept opposition to the Labour Party off their platform. Stop the War's pre-demo statement, signed by Lindsey German and Andrew Murray, claimed that 'this view is shared by many people in the Labour Party itself', and called on 'the British government to break from George Bush's wars.' Its statements like these, excusing the parasitic role of British imperialism in the world, which explain how the anti-war movement has demobilised to a turnout of just 3,000 people for a national demo in Manchester.

 

Manchester RCG Reports! - August 11

nwasdg_march_august_0006

Anti-deportation march, 11th August 2007 On 11th August more than 100 people marched in Manchester against deportations, The protest was called by North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG), along with Sukula Family Must Stay Campaign, No One is Illegal, Samina Altaf Will Stay Campaign, International Organisation of Iranian Refugees, Ethiopia Support Project, Mahoro Must Stay and Bolton National Union of Teachers; it was supported by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR). On the day there were representatives from the supporting groups, with asylum seekers from as far afield as Iran and Nigeria, as well as local people from Manchester and the North West.

 

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Victory for Eucharia and Timeyi

Victory for Eucharia and Timeyi

On 5 November 2007, after over two years’ campaigning, Eucharia Jakpa received a letter confirming she and her 7-year-old son Timeyi had won the right to stay in Britain. Eucharia and Timeyi had faced deportation to Nigeria, where they were at risk of being tortured or killed, having fled in May 2004, after her husband and then six-year-old daughter disappeared due to the ongoing conflict in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. The Home Office initially rejected their application, later advising them to 'try other parts of Nigeria'. They were unable to appeal after their inept immigration service-appointed solicitor failed to represent them. Their MP Gerard Kaufmann refused to help them

Click here for the complete article

 

Sunday 10 August - Prisoners Justice Day! Manchester!

Sunday 10 August - Prisoners Justice Day! Manchester!

No more deaths in custody! Pauline Campbell remembered

photo John O for MOJUK

Campaigners gathered outside Styal prison in Wilmslow, Cheshire on Sunday 10 August to remember all the women who have died there, to protest against all deaths in prison and to remember the massive contribution to the struggle against prison brutality made by Pauline Campbell, who died earlier this year. Pauline had fought for five years to highlight the abuses of vulnerable women in prison, following the death of her 18-year-old daughter Sarah in Styal in 2003. Every time a woman died in prison, she would organise a demonstration outside that prison. She travelled around the country to do this, sometimes accompanied by a group of supporters; other times standing almost alone. She was arrested 15 times and charged five times. Her contribution will never be forgotten. 10 August is Prisoners Justice Day – an annual event begun in Canada in 1975, following the death of prisoner Edward Nalon a year earlier, and first commemorated in Britain in the early 1990s.


photo John O for MOJUK

The demonstration at Styal was called by No More Prison and attended by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, as well as by Guardian prisons correspondent Eric Allison and stalwart peace campaigner Joan Meredith, who participated in many of Pauline’s prison protests, and who has pledged to carry on her work.

A simultaneous demonstration took place outside Holloway prison in London, attended by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! - London Coalition Against Poverty and Women in Prison.

 

Saturday 11 October - Che commemeration event' Day! Manchester!

Saturday 11 October - Che commemeration event' Day! Manchester!

Che Commemoration!

Supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Rock Around the Blockade in Manchester held an event in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre of Manchester to celebrate the life of Che Guevara. Speakers pointed out that forty one years after his death his ideas of socialism are more relevent than ever as the crisis of capitalism lurches forward and banks are collapsing in most of the major imperialist countries. We also collected signatures on petitions calling for the release of the Cuban 5 who have now spent more than 10 years incarcerated in the US prison system purly for attempting to stop terrorist attacks sponsored by the US on Cuba.

 

 

Saturday 18 October - Justice for Nadir Zarebee! Manchester!

Saturday 18 October - Justice for Nadir Zarebee! Manchester!

On Saturday 18 October supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supported a demonstration called by the International Organisation of Iranian Refugees in Manchester to protest over the BBC censorship of the death of Nadir Zarebee. Nadir hanged himself on 5 August 2008 in a park in Longsight, Manchester after being evicted from his home by the racist Home Office. This was the latest in a number of protests against the BBC who have refused to report on the real desperate situation of asylum seekers in Manchester and which drove Nadir to commit suicide.

 

North West Events coming up..

Every Saturday unless otherwise specified - Information/campaign stalls, Manchester City Centre and environs

For details call 07519 427 093 or e-mail: frfi.manchester@gmail.com

 

Regular actions in Liverpool, for details contact FRFI.Liverpool@gmail.com

Contact North West FRFI

075 1942 7093
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FRFI Statement on Justice for Grainger protest

Who shot and killed Anthony Grainger?

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