European judges rule that UK airport cops breached rights of al-Qaeda chief’s wife, taxpayers must pay her $28,000
How did they breach her rights? By stopping her for questioning. In that case, my rights have been breached in several airports, but no one is giving me a big payout. This is the same court that ruled that criticism of Muhammad is not subject to free speech protection.
“Al Qaeda chief’s wife, 49, wins human rights battle after claiming UK airport police breached her privacy by stopping her for questioning (and taxpayers will now foot her legal bills),” by David Churchill, Daily Mail, March 4, 2019:
The wife of an Al Qaeda chief had her human rights breached by UK airport police, European judges have ruled.
Sylvie Beghal, 49, was stopped at East Midlands Airport while returning to Leicester after a visit to her husband Djamel Beghal in a French jail.
The mother of three said she was detained without reasonable suspicion – violating her right to private and family life.
Her claims were rejected by the High Court and Supreme Court but the European Court of Human Rights eventually ruled in her favour.
The Home Office said it was disappointed by the ruling, which it has three months to challenge.
The airport incident in 2011 had led to Mrs Beghal being charged with failing to help officers – an offence under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Lord Carlile of Berriew, who was the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2001 to 2011, said: ‘Schedule 7 is absolutely key to the protection of the public in the UK and to national security.
‘It has to be used carefully and proportionately, as recognised when the law was amended in 2014. But I’m very surprised that this case has resulted in such a ruling, particularly given the factual background.
‘I fear we have to put this down to a questionable decision by the ECHR. In my view the British courts were right and correctly took their decisions in this case.’
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, whose constituency covers the airport, said: ‘It’s sickening. These people are big on human rights but not so much on their responsibilities.
‘We all have a duty to cooperate with the police with regards to terrorism and anyone who doesn’t want to is breaking the bond of loyalty to our country.
‘It’s great she can use the law to protect her own right to family life, but she has strong links with a convicted terrorist and Al Qaeda have not shown any regard to human rights in the past with their victims.’
According to court documents lodged at the ECHR, Mrs Beghal was stopped at the airport after visiting her husband with their children.
Officers said they wanted to talk to her to establish whether she might be ‘a person concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism’.
She refused to answer questions until a lawyer was present and after 30 minutes was told she was free to go. But she was later charged under Schedule 7 and pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court in December 2011.
She then launched a legal action, claiming the powers given to police under Schedule 7 did not have adequate safeguards to be ‘in accordance with’ the European Convention on Human Rights.
Her case reached the ECHR in January 2016, which last week ruled in her favour. Judges told the Government to foot her £21,531 legal bill….