Two asylum seekers were arrested under the Terrorism Act and quizzed for 44 hours after filming themselves in a park. The Iraqi pair, who had been in Wales for just two months, were using a camcorder in Bute Park, Cardiff, when an undercover cop swooped. He asked the men, both 20, what they were doing before one of their mobile phones went off with an Arabic music ringtone. According to the Iraqis’ solicitor Hanif Bhamjee, the cop then radioed for back-up.
Minutes later uniformed and plain-clothes officers arrived in the popular park, which was packed with tourists and city residents soaking up the sunshine. The pair, who speak little English, were formally arrested under the Terrorism Act for what police last night claimed was “a suspicious incident”. It is thought cops were concerned the pair were filming so close to the Millennium Stadium, which is Wales’ top terror target and just over the road from Bute Park.
Mr Bhamjee said the terrified asylum seekers, who fled sectarian violence in their war-ravaged country, were asked a series of questions during hour after hour of gruelling interviews. The lawyer, of Cardiff-based Crowley and Co, added:
“There were 40 detectives involved. They raided their houses like they were looking for explosives. These poor people didn’t know what the hell was happening. They were very shaken – they didn’t know what had hit them so they were panicking. It’s outrageous, the police response was well over the top. If they had made any elementary inquiries they would have realised these kids were nothing to worry about.”
A police spokesman confirmed two men were arrested on Wednesday after a “suspicious incident” and released on Friday without charge.