LETTER : Political asylum does not permit propaganda campaigns

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From Mr Randhir Singh Bains

Sir: Your leading article on Saudi deportation states that "all Mr Masari has done is engage in a peaceful campaign against a medieval, absolutist monarchy". While Mr Masari may not have been directly involved in violent activities directed against the Saudi government, his London-based Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights appeared to condone last year's bomb attack on an American building in Riyadh.

However, in attempting to condemn his deportation, one only needs to defend the principle of asylum, not the man at the centre of controversy. Indeed the Government did exactly that when, a few years ago, it refused to deport the Sikh separatist leader Jagjit Singh Chohan to India, or the MQM leader Altaf Hussain to Pakistan, although both of them were accused of instigating terrorism in their countries of origin.

But now, by ordering the deportation of Mr Masari at the behest of Saudi regime, the Government has not only exposed itself to the charge of following double-standards but has also set a dangerous precedent for rendering Britain's asylum laws amenable to external pressure.

Yours faithfully,

Randhir Singh Bains,

Gants Hill, Essex