Tag Archive: court

‘Disappointed but not deterred’

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DEMONSTRATION: Paveen Yaqub stands outside court in Istanbul which has now ruled that the case be adjourned

DEMONSTRATION: Paveen Yaqub stands outside court in Istanbul which has now ruled that the case be adjourned

High court adjourned as Gaza freedom flotilla fight continues

Families and friends of those killed six years ago in an armed naval attack - led by Israeli Commanders on a ship delivering aid to Gaza – will have to wait at least two more months for answers after the latest court hearing was adjourned.

The 7th Criminal Court of Istanbul held its thirteenth hearing of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla case on 19th October for the fatal raid, of the Mavi Marmara, that took place on 31st May 2010.

However, despite the longevity of the case, a further postponement was deemed necessary by authorities after the last judge was not considered to be impartial.

Paveen Yaqub, who was part of the aid flotilla and saw a fellow passenger – Ugur Suleyman - on board the ship die from a bullet wound to the head, said she is ‘disappointed but not deterred’.

On the latest adjournment, she said: “I felt mistrustful and wondered if it was a tactical move because we had many people represented from different countries, who were flotilla victims.”

She continued: “Perhaps the court and the government think that if they delay, fewer of us will come back in December, and it would be easier for the court to carry through the sentiments of the Turkish and Israeli governments, who have reached their own political agreement that should have no bearing on our legal process.”

During the 2010 attack, nine humanitarian activists were killed and another was left in a coma after he was shot in the head. He later passed away.

Other passengers suffered bullet wounds, dozens were left injured, and hundreds were ‘traumatised’ after being subjected to a bloody and brutal attack at sea.

Surviving victims were subsequently taken from international waters to Israel and detained, until international outrage and intervention ensured their freedom and safe return to home countries, including passengers from the UK.

The flotilla consisted of a fleet of humanitarian ships carrying vital aid and hundreds of charity workers bound for the besieged Gaza strip.

SURVIVOR: Paveen Yaqub was on board an aid ship when it was attacked by Israeli Commanders

SURVIVOR: Paveen Yaqub was on board an aid ship when it was attacked by Israeli Commanders

Asian Express talked exclusively to Paveen Yaqub about her experiences:

Do the horrors of the Mavi Marmara still feel like yesterday?

Being in Istanbul for the purpose of the court hearing always brings me closer to the memories of the horror that unfolded six years ago when Israeli naval forces opened fire on a on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship. Tonight, in Istanbul, victims who have travelled from various countries will gather for a pre-court briefing.

Tomorrow will be worse because the families of those killed will be in court - as they always are.

Seeing them always makes me deeply sad because, not only are they still grieving the loss of their loved ones, but they again will hear the details of the brutality that ended the lives of their husbands, fathers and sons. Yet still justice has not been delivered to them, or any of us who survived the terror that Israel brought to bear on innocent civilians.

What are you hoping to come out of this court case? Do you think you will ever get justice for Ugur Suleyman?

I hope that this court case marks history in shaping a trajectory that holds Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity, for its flagrant disregard for international and humanitarian law, for its illegal military occupation; its criminal blockade of Gaza, and its privileged position of impunity granted by the USA, the UK and the UN.

This isn't simply seeking justice for Ugur Suleyman, Furkan Dogan, or the eight other humanitarians whose lives were worthless in the eyes of Israel commandos - neither is this a justice that I seek for me.

This is a stance against Israeli state terrorism and a service to humanity, a symbolic effort for Palestinians and any other oppressed people that the international community has abandoned because it does not serve their own political and diplomatic interests to care.

Whether we achieve justice or not, it doesn't change the truth nor does it deter me from knowing 'human rights from human wrongs', even if our politicians struggle with this simple concept.

Do you believe news in today’s climate is easily forgotten/ disposable/ and that atrocities get brushed over all too easily?

News always moves at a fast pace and with so many atrocities in the world, it’s difficult for people to respond meaningfully as it can become too overwhelming.

Death and violent conflict is so prevalent that people can also fall into an apathetic state or simply don't want to hear about it anymore, so they disconnect.

However, what is very clear to me is that for mainstream media there is a distinction between those whom deserve our attention and those who do not: the lives which matter and those which are dispensable.

It's a desperately sad situation to consider that, by denying truth and a fair representation of conflict, the mainstream media industry is shaping views about who the victims and perpetrators are, even if these representations are false, biased and misleading.

This dismissive approach to reporting the truth is what is helping to stoke the fires of conflict, unrest and division in our communities.

I have first-hand experience of the BBC for example, reporting the flotilla raid in such a distorted and unfair way. I was there. I know what leading media anchors did to the truth, leaving me questioning so much of what our media and our governments tell us. 

How are you rebuilding your life? Do you feel strong?

I am doing better these days and focusing on rebuilding not just my life but my sense of who I am again.

Israel stole something from me that I doubt will ever return but fortunately they didn't take the most important thing I own, my faith. I realise that it's not what is taken from you in this life that matters but what you give, and what you find as you walk the road ahead with belief, hope and humanity. I have something the Israeli commandos were devoid of: I have value for the life of others and I have no place in my heart for hate, not even for them.

I would hope that others who feel they want to serve humanity do so with constructive action and use the processes available to them.

People touched or angered by injustice should hold on to how they feel and channel that into practical actions like lobbying politicians or campaigning peacefully but robustly.

Whether we like it or not, politics is where the power is held and that's where we have to take our grievances over and over again until our governments heed our concerns. 

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BLACKS SOLICITORS: The riot act now read

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Many will still remember the riots that erupted in London in August 2011 which resulted in extensive damage to property.  The question as to who pays for that damage has been finally determined by the Supreme Court in a judgment which was handed down last month.  

In the case of The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime v Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co (Europe) Ltd and Others, a number of insurers which had compensated property owners that had suffered losses during the riots had brought claims for compensation against the Police Authority under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886.  Under that Act, where a property has been damaged or destroyed as a result of rioting, the victim can claim compensation from the Local Police Authorities.  It also enables insurers to recoup from the Police Authority any payments which have been paid out as a consequence of rioting.

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether, in addition to compensation where there had been physical damage to a building, the claimants were also entitled to receive compensation for consequential losses, such as loss of rent and loss of profits arising from business interruption.  

The case itself involved the destruction of the Sony distribution centre in Enfield.  On 8th August 2011 it was attacked, looted and firebombed. The subsequent fire completely destroyed the warehouse and all of the stock and equipment contained inside.  The insurers for Sony, for its landlord and for Sony’s customers whose stock had been stored in the warehouse all made claims against the Mayor’s Office.  

Initially, the High Court awarded compensation for the damage to the building and its content but it refused compensation for business interruption including loss of profit and loss of rent on the ground that those items were outside the scope of the 1886 Act.  However, that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal which ruled that compensation could be claimed for any losses flowing from the damage to the building and not just for physical damage.  The Mayor’s Office appealed.

In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeal.  It held that it had not been Parliament’s intention that the statutory compensation scheme should mirror the rioters’ liability in tort and that it had set out a self-contained statutory compensation scheme which was confined to physical damage to property; consequential losses could not therefore be recovered.  

This decision will save the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds.  Although it has clarified the law, it may prove somewhat academic as the Riot Compensation Act 2016 is due to repeal the 1886 Act and replace it with a new regime regulating compensation from riot damage.  The new act contains a £1million cap on recovery and specifically excludes consequential losses.  

If you are involved with any dispute with your insurers then Blacks can assist.  Please contact Luke Patel on 0113 227 9316 or email him at “LPatel@LawBlacks.com”.

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Court date set for teen accused of killing Saliq Malik

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SCENE: Almost one year after Saliq was killed following a car crash, a teenager has appeared in court on charges of causing death by dangerous driving

SCENE: Almost one year after Saliq was killed following a car crash, a teenager has appeared in court on charges of causing death by dangerous driving

A teenager from Bradford  has appeared in court charged with causing death by dangerous driving of a 15-year-old last year.

Syam Khan, of Kimberley Street, Bradford Moor, will return to Bradford Crown Court on 8th March 2016 as he faces a likely two-week trial over the death of Saliq Malik.

Khan is accused of driving a Volkswagen Golf GTi dangerously in Gilpin Street, Barkerend, on 12th September 2014 when the vehicle collided with a wall and lamppost.

Saliq suffered serious head injuries from the accident and  passed away later in the day as he was treated in hospital.

Khan is also facing additional charges in relation to the incident of causing death by driving while uninsured, causing death by driving while unlicensed, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, all on the same date.

TRAGIC: Saliq passed away in hospital after being involved in the crash

TRAGIC: Saliq passed away in hospital after being involved in the crash

Five co-accused, Nadeem Hussain, 29; Yasser Hussain, 28; Waqas Iqbal, 20; Haji Rehman, 35; and Mohammed Bilaal Sadiq, 33, also appeared at court on a joint charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

All were granted bail, except Sadiq who is in custody.

Since the incident, Saliq’s family have established the Safety of Reckless Driving (SORD) organisation, speaking with members of the community affected by similar events, and warning of the dangers surrounding dangerous driving.

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17-years for fleeing rapist

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JAILED: Wakar Akhtar began his 17-year prison sentence last week and will return to court this month on charges of fleeing the country

JAILED: Wakar Akhtar began his 17-year prison sentence last week and will return to court this month on charges of fleeing the country

Akhtar behind bars after successful extradition

A Bradford man, who left the country part way through his trial, has returned to the UK and now begun his 17-year sentence behind bars.

21-year-old Wakar Akhtar, of Hudson Avenue, Bradford, was convicted and sentenced in his absence in November for the rape of a young woman.

He fled to Italy where he had been staying with family before he was subsequently arrested and brought back to the UK.

He appeared at Bradford Crown Court earlier this week to receive his lengthy sentence and will return to the court once again on 6th March, for a second hearing to decide his punishment for fleeing the country.

Akhtar and three other men carried out the attack on the woman at Bradford’s Cousen Road recreation Ground last year.

Tamseel Virk, Azad Raja and Najim Ul-Saeed, all also from the same city, were each sentenced to 17 years in jail in November.

In January, Mohammed Raja, of Hudson Crescent, and Raja Sarwar, of Tern Street, Bradford, were jailed for four years for helping Akhtar flee.

Despite prosecutor, Gerald Hendron - representing Akhtar, requesting for the case surrounding the prisoner’s escape from the UK to be adjourned, Judge Durham Hall said he would see the defendant again ‘in a few days’.

He said: “There are unresolved issues. I won't ask your lay client to say anything today. He has had a fairly interesting few weeks.

“He will have been brought here by plane and car and will be very tired and needing to get his head round certain things.

“He is now serving a 17 year sentence. He starts that sentence now and I will see him in a few days.”

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A first-hand look at life behind bars

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PRAISED: Naz is a former prisoner who turned his life around and now works with young people to deter them from a life of crime. He will be using the facilities with his organisation, Con-Sequence

PRAISED: Naz is a former prisoner who turned his life around and now works with young people to deter them from a life of crime. He will be using the facilities with his organisation, Con-Sequence

Bradford Centre of Excellence looks to turn youths away from crime

Bradford’s leaders have taken a proactive step in the fight against youth crime after opening the city’s first Centre of Excellence in Girlington last week.

The site, which features in-house mock jail cells, a court and living area, has been developed as part of the city’s pledge to do more to prevent ‘at risk’ young members of society turning to crime.

Based at Girlington Community Centre, the facilities will be used by a range of community organisations, as well as some schools.

Former criminal ‘Naz’ is one of the people who will be utilising the site alongside his organisation ‘Con-Sequence’ which works with young people to deter them from a life of crime.

LAW: An onsite replica court is amongst the facilities on show at the Centre of Excellence, here deputy leader of Bradford Council, Cllr Imran Hussain, stands with young people from the local area

LAW: An onsite replica court is amongst the facilities on show at the Centre of Excellence, here deputy leader of Bradford Council, Cllr Imran Hussain, stands with young people from the local area

Having been handed a nine-year prison sentence for a drug related offence at the age of just 21, he has seen first-hand what life is like behind bars and wants people to understand the ‘harsh realities’ of what prison is really like.

“When you are in prison you are on your own,” the now 34-year-old said. “There is no back up and the realisation of what you have given up all comes crashing down on you.

“When I was serving my time, I made the decision to turn my life around and thankfully got involved with the Prince’s Trust which helped me a lot.

“After my release, I began working in schools and talking with young people about the harsh realities of crime. I see it as my debt to society, to warn the next generation and to make sure they keep on the right path in their lives.”

REALITY: Cllr Hussain examines the mock cell with some of the young people present at the launch

REALITY: Cllr Hussain examines the mock cell with some of the young people present at the launch

He added: “I am over the moon to see a centre like this open in Bradford. It will be a huge benefit for a number of organisations and I can’t wait to use these facilities.”

Naz also worked with the local MAGIC (Manningham and Girlington Influencing Change) project upon his release from prison in 2008, with the new Centre of Excellence seen as a further ‘step-up’ from that successful initiative.

The centre will provide a permanent base for organisations to use and will walk them through the journey of a life of crime, from the initial illegal act itself, to home life, then court and finally to prison.

Cllr Imran Hussain, deputy leader of Bradford Council, was a driving force behind the initiative, securing funds for its development and helping to build up the concept from the ground.

At the launch event on Thursday 19th February, he said he was delighted to see the doors open and believes it will be a big asset to the community.

LAUNCH: The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Mike Gibbons, and Lady Mayoress, Mrs Elizabeth Sharp, helped officially open the site last Thursday

LAUNCH: The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Mike Gibbons, and Lady Mayoress, Mrs Elizabeth Sharp, helped officially open the site last Thursday

“The reason we set up this Centre of Excellence is to eliminate any false ideas that young people may have which suggest a life of crime can be ‘glamorous’ or ‘beneficial’,” Cllr Hussain said.

“This is an innovative landmark project which will aim to draw back ‘at-risk’ young people from the cliff edge by working with former offenders, community organisations and the police.

“Building off the success of past projects such as MAGIC, this is a unique way of giving the youth an insight into truths of what prison life, and the stages before that, is really like.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, added: “This is another great example of work being done in local communities to deter youth crime.

“Money from my Safer Communities Fund has been invested into this project and I hope it will become a very successful one as the facilities are utilised.”

 

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