Palestinian activist wins detention case

A Palestinian activist detained on the orders of Home Secretary Theresa May is entitled to damages after being unlawfully held for two days, a High court judge ruled today.

Sheikh Raed Salah, 52, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, managed to enter the UK despite being banned.



He flew to the UK on June 25 for a short visit for meetings and other public engagements, including at the Houses of Parliament.



Three days later he was detained at his west London hotel, handcuffed and taken to Paddington Green police station and held for a total of 21 days.



Today Mr Justice Nicol, sitting at the High Court in London, ruled that he was not given "proper and sufficient reasons" for his arrest on the 28th - "nor was he given them until some time on the 30th".



He was entitled to damages for wrongful detention during that period.



The Home Secretary served a deportation notice on the father of eight on the grounds that his presence in the UK was "not conducive to the public good".



Mrs May defended her action recently, saying she wanted to stop those who "encourage extremism" before it escalated to violence.









Mr Salah was eventually given bail on July 18. The amount of damages he will receive for the two days he was wrongly held have yet to be assessed.



The judge rejected his claim that his detention as a whole was contrary to the statutory power to detain and contrary to the Home Secretary's own policy on detention pending deportation.



Mr Salah is due to appeal in the near future against Mrs May's decision to deport him in separate proceedings before an immigration tribunal.



At a recent hearing in London, his QC, Raza Husain, argued that the Palestinian had been "confined without lawful authority" and his damages claim was "essentially one for false imprisonment".



Neil Sheldon, appearing for the Home Secretary, argued that Mrs May had acted reasonably and been legally entitled to order Mr Salah's detention pending deportation on the basis that his presence in the UK was not conducive to the public good.



PA

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