Nottinghamshire police pay £20,000 to student arrested over research material

In 2008, Rizwaan Sabir – an MA student at the University of Nottingham – was reported to the police by the university for downloading a copy of the al-Quaeda training manual and emailing it to his friend, Hich Yezza, who worked as an administrator. Yezza was helping Sabir put together a PhD proposal on counter-terrorism. He downloaded the manual from a US government site. A longer version, containing more material, can be purchased from any bookshop. However, when another administrator found the manual on Yezza’s computer, the university immediately called the police, who arrested Sabir and Yezza. Sabir was held for seven days before being released without charge. However, despite his innocence, information was kept on record, and as a result, he endured various forms of harassment from the authorities. (Yezza’s treatment was even worse: he was imprisoned for several months in an immigration holding unit as the UK tried to deport him. It took two years, and thousands of pounds in legal proceedings to halt the deportation and win back his residency papers. Again, he was completely innocent of any connection with terrorism.)

The Nottinghamshire police have now paid Sabir £20,000 in an out of court settlement, over their handling of the affair. Let’s hope this changes the way that such cases are dealt with in the future. You can read more here.

3 thoughts on “Nottinghamshire police pay £20,000 to student arrested over research material

  1. This is good news; I was shocked at the treatment of the ‘Nottingham Two’. However, I don’t think the police were the only culpable party. The University treated the case atrociously, from the initial report to the police, based on the combination of extremely flimsy ‘evidence’ and a heavy dose of racial profiling, to the Vice-Chancellor’s statement that researching terrorist material is not protected by any rights, and runs the risk of prosecution on terrorism charges. The University no longer teaches courses on terrorism.

    I’m happy to see the police wrongdoing acknowledged. But frankly, I’m more scandalized by the academic catastrophe in the University of Nottingham, and I’d like to see some sort of acknowledgement and redress there, too.

  2. Indeed. But things are difficult on that score. The only person who has consistently, loudly, and publicly spoken out in condemning the university’s actions and calling for a public inquiry of some sort is Rod Thornton, who has been suspended by the university. He has yet to be reinstated. However, the Channel Four (i.e., national) news report on the compensation paid to Sabir included an interview with Rod Thornton. His case is now national news. I am hopeful this exposure will aid Thornton’s case. We’ll see.

Comments are closed.