Pakistani detainee talks of ‘torture’ in Britain

June 11th, 2009 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 11 (DPA) A Pakistani student, who was detained in Britain on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks, returned home Thursday after withdrawing his appeal against deportation, saying he had suffered “mental torture” and humiliation in a British prison.
Tariq ur-Rehman was among 10 Pakistani students taken into custody by the United Kingdom Border Agency in April after they were released by the British police without charge.

The police arrested the students along with another Pakistani national and a Briton in separate raids which were carried out after Britains’s top counter-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick accidentally revealed secret documents to photographers allegedly implicating the men.

“The mental torture we were put through was more severe than any physical torture,” Rehman told reporters at Islamabad airport Thursday.

“Even our Korans and prayer mats were searched using dogs and we repeatedly protested at this,” Rehman said.

Muslims regard dogs as impure animals and the animals’ touching of the Koran is viewed as a desecration of the Muslim holy book.

“I withdrew my case (against deportation) in protest as I cannot tolerate this (humiliation),” said Rehman, who belongs to Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated tribal region near Afghanistan.

Orders for the deportation of Rehman on national security grounds have been withdrawn by the British authorities, his counsel, Amjad Malik, said.

“Tariq is innocent until proven guilty, and there is no charge against him,” Malik said. “Presumption of innocence must be maintained.”

According to him, the Pakistani students were suspected of involvement in Islamist extremist activities, which he said could not be precisely defined.

“Fasting, going to prayers, keeping a beard, anything, could be (termed) Islamist extremism. So we don’t know really,” he said.

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