Acquitted doctor complains of 'sour grapes'

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The Independent Online

A doctor cleared of links to the London Glasgow terror plot accused the Government of "sour grapes" today after he was not released.

Jordanian Dr Mohammed Asha, 28, was acquitted by a jury of any involvement in the terrorist conspiracy yesterday.

But he has not been released from custody and faces deportation after being told his presence "is not conducive to the public good".

In a statement read by his solicitor Tayab Ali, Dr Asha said his arrest and subsequent trial "obliterated" his life.

He said: "Finally, justice has been done - a jury has cleared me of any involvement in these allegations. The jury had no doubts whatsoever that I am an innocent man.

"Even though I was acquitted, justice has not been done and is not being done. I am still in HMP Belmarsh.

"The Home Office has handed me a notice of detention on the basis that my visa had lapsed."

The medic's legal team said he intends to apply for bail and fight deportation as he wants to continue his medical career in Britain.

Dr Asha added: "I am an innocent man. The use of the Home Office notice is disingenuous and appears to be sour grapes on the part of the Government."

Mr Ali said Dr Asha has a right to compensation and could sue the Home Office or police, but no decision has yet been made.

The medic has managed to speak to his wife in Jordan for only a few seconds from prison since he was acquitted, his solicitor said.

Reading a statement outside court, just a few steps from Belmarsh prison where Dr Asha is being held, Mr Ali said on his client's behalf: "I would like to thank my family and friends who always believed in me and supported me."

Dr Asha also thanked the jury for "seeing through the police and prosecution case".

He added: "This case has obliterated my life and the lives of my family. For the last 18 months, each day we have lived under a heavy cloud of the most serious allegations possible.

"Finally yesterday a jury cleared me completely of any involvement in these allegations. The jury has no doubt whatsoever that I am an innocent man."

The Home Office has applied for Dr Asha's deportation on the grounds that his presence in the UK "is not conducive to the public good", but the neurologist plans to appeal.

His statement continued: "I am an innocent man. All I want to do is put my life back together with my wife and child, but the Government continue to bully and punish me for something I did not do."