Forwarded Alert: UK – Aamer Anwar case – judgement awaited

The contempt of court allegations against Glasgow solicitor Aamer Anwar followed statements that he made after a client, Mohammed Atif Siddique, was convicted of \\\”terrorism.\\\” The proceedings were initiated last November by Lord Carloway, the judge in the Siddique trial. The case was heard by three judges at the High Court in Edinburgh on 29 April.

Paul McBride QC, representing Aamer Anwar, argued strongly in court that Aamer Anwar had been entitled to speak as he did because his statements represented the views of his client and had been agreed in advance with the client. He also argued that Aamer Anwar was in any case protected by the freedom of expression provisions in the Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A lawyer representing the human rights organisation Liberty also gave strong support to the view that the freedom of speech guarantees contained in the European Convention on Human Rights were applicable to the case.

Very little was said by either the Crown representative or the judges to contradict these arguments.

We hope that the judgement, when it is eventually given, will reflect the arguments heard in the court. Whatever the outcome, the ruling will be a landmark in Scottish and European law.

The case has already made legal history on two counts. It is the first time that a has faced charges of this kind in the UK. And the contribution from Liberty was the first \\\”third party intervention\\\” put before a Scottish Court. \\\”Third-party interventions\\\” have previously been made in cases of major public interest in England, but have never been attempted in a Scottish court. The judges ruling lookjs set to enter legal history as a key step in determining how the European Convention on Human Rights affects our rights in this country.

What you can do:

The online letter in support of Aamer Anwar will remain open for signatures at least until the judgement is given. Please ask your friends to sign at http://www.sacc.org.uk/aameranwar/index.php

More information:

* Mohammed Atif Siddique refused bail – Asian Image, 13 May
http://www.asianimage.co.uk/display.var.2268105.0.man_fails_in_freedom_bid.php

* Aamer Anwar blasts \’spineless\’ solicitors – Sunday Times, 11 May
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article3908886.ece

* Legal Opinion: Lawyers defend their right to freedom of expression – The Independent, 7 May
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/legal-opinion-lawyers-defend-their-right-to-freedom-of-expression-822083.html

* Defend Aamer Anwar – campaign update from SACC
http://www.sacc.org.uk/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=438&catid=29

* Facebook – Defend Aamer Anwar
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=31793625280&ref=ts%20

* Aamer Anwar case – judgement awaited – SACC, 29 April 2008
http://www.sacc.org.uk/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=535&catid=45

* Judges ponder Anwar contempt case – BBC, 29 April
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7372861.stm

* European Convention on Human Rights
http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/D5CC24A7-DC13-4318-B457-5C9014916D7A/0/EnglishAnglais.pdf

* Statement issued by Aamer Anwar after the conviction of Mohammed Atif Siddique, 17 September 2007
http://www.sacc.org.uk/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=527&catid=33