One year on from his imprisonment, the quashing of Ahmed Faraz’s conviction for the dissemination of terrorism publications, is a great victory for freedom of expression in the UK.
In a damning judgement, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that no causal link could be presented that publications produced by the Maktabah bookshop would inspire acts of political violence or terrorism. They said that it was incorrect of the trial judge to permit evidence that those who had carried out acts of terrorism had owned copies of the books or DVDs and that it was a short cut to a conviction.
The judges further explained that when the extent of acts of political violence are considered, the percentage of those who might have read Maktabah publications was very small and so such a causal link was entirely onerous.
The reliance on pseudo experts by the prosecution proves that creating an atmosphere of fear for a jury, does not mean that a criminal act has taken place, but rather that the prosecution relied heavily on the ignorance of the jury on particularly complicated matters.
Research Director for CagePrisoners, Asim Qureshi, said of the decision:
“The conviction of Ahmed Faraz by a jury last year was completely incorrect. The jurors based their decision on a fundamental misunderstanding of Muslim ideas and behaviour. The judgement of the Court of Appeal is warmly welcomed as it highlights that incidental links to acts of political violence or terrorism should never be criminalised, particularly where causality is tenuous at best.”