Press Release: IHRC condemns lenient sentencing of assailant of Yassir Abdelmouttalib as a mockery of justice

IHRC condemns lenient sentencing of assailant of Yassir Abdelmouttalib as a mockery of justice

Islamic Human Rights Commission

20 December 2004

Press Release: IHRC condemns lenient sentencing of assailant of Yassir Abdelmouttalib as a mockery of justice

IHRC today condemned the lenient sentencing of the assailant of 22 year old Moroccan student, Yassir Abdelmouttalib. The court awarded the defendant a 5 and a half years custodial sentence in a detention centre to be decided by the Home Secretary.

IHRC is deeply disappointed by the short sentence which means the defendant could be free within three years. IHRC notes that by this stage the defendant will still be a young man who will have the rest of his life to enjoy. This will not be the case with his victim, Yassir, who may never walk again, see again or lead an independent life again.

Yassir Abdelmouttalib stated:

“The sentence is too short and there is no justice in it. He destroyed my whole life and my whole future. I cannot complete my education, or read or play sport again. He should have received a life sentence.”

The judge in the case explained that he had taken the assailant’s age into account and that there had been no racial or religious motivation behind the attack.

IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“The fact that no racial or religious motivation was found to be behind the attack is indicative of what IHRC has been saying for many years now; there is an absolute refusal by state institutions to even recognise the problem of Islamophobia.”

“Such lenient sentencing is sending out a message to the public that religiously motivated attacks on Muslims are tolerable.”

IHRC is extremely concerned with the entire investigative procedure of this case. Despite numerous eye-witnesses reporting that a fourth man actively impeded a would-be rescuer, the police only investigated the three youths who launched the attack. That two of these were acquitted with the third to be released after only three years is very worrying for British society as a whole.

The father of the victim, Mr. Abdelmouttalib commented:

“The court today has not solved the problem of violence and anti-Muslim discrimination in Britain. The two defendants who admitted taking part in the attack were left unpunished and are roaming the streets today. They will be joined very soon by their friend who himself has a history of criminal activity and violence, even before this case. The court, by this sentence, is not protecting the people of Britain.”

IHRC is also deeply concerned by the confusing behaviour of the Metropolitan Police whose investigation seemed to focus more on whether Yassir Abdelmouttalib belonged to a terrorist cell and less on the assailants themselves. IHRC does note that the police have since sent a letter to the victim’s family stating that Yassir Abdelmouttalib was not under investigation.

Yassir stated:

“Why did they treat me like this? Why did they imply to my sister and my friends that I may be a terrorist? Where is the justice here?”

For more information please contact (+44) 20 8904 4222 or

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183