UK honors anti-terror chief after shooting

Scotland Yard’s anti-terror chief is awarded “Commander of the British Empire”—in the wake of a controvesial shooting of a young Muslim man in a police raid that turned up nothing. From The Telegraph, June 17:

There has been a storm of protest after it emerged that a senior police officer involved in a controversial anti-terror raid in which a suspect was shot was to be awarded a CBE.

Andy Hayman, Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police, is awarded the gong in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his response to the July 7 terror attacks.

Mr Hayman, head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terror operations, has come under pressure in the aftermath of a recent raid on a house in east London in which a man was shot and injured, but later released without charge.

The Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg questioned the timing of the award, suggesting that it should have been postponed.

He said: “There might be a wider case to reward Andy Hayman and recognise his service to the police.

“But I think, given the exceptional circumstances in the wake of the Forest Gate operation and the enormous anxiety in the community affected, I think there’s a strong case to have perhaps thought about the timing of this honour given that Forest Gate is still so fresh in everybody’s mind.”

Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, were questioned under terrorism laws for a week after being arrested at their home in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate. They were released without charge.

Mr Kahar, who was shot in the shoulder, has said he believed robbers were targeting his home and that he was going to be killed.

Muslim community leaders echoed Mr Clegg’s comments over the timing of Mr Hayman’s award. Dr Zulfiqar Ali, of the Alliance of Newham Muslims Association, which represents 36 mosques in and around the Forest Gate area, said the award should have been delayed in the interests of community relations.

He said: “He has probably made a huge impact in terms of anti-terrorism policing but the timing unfortunately doesn’t help.

“We know that people already feel a sense of victimisation, anger and fear in terms of the way this incident was handled.

“I am sure he deserves it of old but it would have been better if it could have waited until the next honours occasion.”

The shooting had already sparked much protest. From The Telegraph, June 11:

A rally has been held in London to protest against the police terror raids in which a man was shot.

Around 250 demonstrators gathered outside Scotland Yard. The number was significant as that was how many officers were sent to raid the house in Forest Gate, east London, on the morning of June 2.

Anti-police slogans were shouted but the protest remained peaceful.

The sister of two brothers held for a week as terror suspects before being released without charge said her family had been through “hell”.

Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, who was shot during the dawn operation and 20-year-old Abul Koyair were freed without charge after police found no trace of a chemical device they were searching for at the address.

Neither man could attend the protest today but their sister, Humeya Kalam, issued a statement on their behalf, saying:

“My brothers would have liked to have come today to show unity. However they are unable to do so because they are still recovering from their injuries, physically as well as mentally.”

She said that she hoped that the protest would “help highlight the fact that no other innocent family should be put through the same nightmare that we went through”.

Ms Kalam added: “We are very relieved to have them back after the hell we went through last week.”

The demonstration was backed by a number of groups including the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Stop the War Coalition and the more radical Muslim group Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Respect MP George Galloway made an appearance and called for the resignation of both Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

See our last post on tyranny in the UK.