The family of a British Muslim man convicted of attempting to recruit men to fight in Afghanistan has been appealing against the seizure of their home by British police.
Manchester Crown Court began hearing the two-day appeal against the seizure on Thursday.
Munir Farooqi, 56, was convicted under UK terrorism laws after undercover police officers, posing as convert Muslims, secretly filmed him in his home over a period of approximately a year.
In one of the video recordings he said, “Jihad is not just to go and give your life away, no. If we’re going to go there we make sure we take at least forty, fifty people with us.”
This is a gross injustice happening right before our eyes. It is the first time ever this law is being used to confiscate a family home. This will mark history.
He received an 18-year-sentence for his comments, and was found guilty in 2011 in a British court of "preparing for acts of terrorism", "soliciting to murder" and "dissemination of terrorist publications". The family argue his words were taken out of context and the result of provocation.
The Crown Prosecution Service says it is now seeking to seize his family home because it was used for the "purposes of terrorism". If successful it would be the first time that a family home has been seized as a "terrorist asset" under UK laws.
The property is currently home to three generations of the Farooqi family, including his 3-year-old granddaughter, and is registered to his wife Zeenat and daughter Zulaikha Farooqi.
His children have described the seizure order as collective punishment which will render them homeless.
In a public statement the family said, “Greater Manchester Police have applied to confiscate the home to three generations who are totally innocent and not related to Munir’s conviction in any way. In fact, his son Harris Farooqi who also lives in this house was actually acquitted from the very same trial yet still being punished in this way.
|Munir Farooqi's daughter and granddaughter. [Zulaikha Farooqi]
"This is a gross injustice happening right before our eyes. It is the first time ever this law is being used to confiscate a family home. This will mark history. And if the application is successful it will set a very dangerous precedent in law.”
In a statement sent to Al Jazeera, the UK Crown Prosecution service said, “The Crown Prosecution Service is making an application under S23a of the Terrorism Act 2000 for the forfeiture of Munir Farooqi’s home address...on the basis that it has been used for the purposes of terrorism."
“The power to forfeit residential premises in these circumstances is a power under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, and before any decision is made, the forfeiture application is considered by the court and the family will be given an opportunity to be heard. The court will consider the effect of any order on the family members.”
Follow Hassan Ghani on Twitter: @hassan_ghani
Source: Al Jazeera