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Forest Gate brothers harassed again
11-07-2007, 06:18 PM,
Forest Gate brothers harassed again
Quote:The man shot in a terror raid in Forest Gate and his brother have launched a bid for compensation from the police over a second incident.

The pair claim police threatened to shoot them after they were stopped near their home in August this year.

Mohammed Abdulkahar told MPs he now "feared for his life".

Mr Abdulkahar was shot in the shoulder in June 2006 during a police raid on their east London home. The brothers were later released without charge.

The police said the shooting was an accident and they regretted it. The brothers' claim for compensation from that incident is still outstanding.

In the latest incident, which again resulted in the brothers being released without charge, they claim they were the victim of false imprisonment, lack of reasonable suspicion for being stopped and use of excessive police force.

Mr Abdulkahar gave his version of what happened when he gave evidence to the home affairs select committee on Wednesday.

"About seven armed officers pulled us over at the top of our road, we were manhandled to the floor, we were handcuffed without getting arrested. I have no trust in them. I have no faith in them.

"[Metropolitan Police Commissioner] Sir Ian Blair has to recognise he is putting my life at risk.

"Every time I walk the street I fear for my life. I don't fear from the criminals, I fear from the police."

'Shoot him'

Asked if he thought he had been deliberately targeted by police, Mr Abdulkahar said: "The armed officers clearly knew who I was and who my brother was.

"They were even making jokes, saying 'how much money did you get in compensation? How many millions did you get of our overtime money?'"

He said he had "independent witnesses that witnessed the officers shouting, saying 'shoot him, shoot him'".

He said he had not made an official complaint because he "had no faith in the system".

Compensation claim

The brothers' solicitors said the incident had made Mr Abdulkahar's shoulder injury worse and he had been signed off sick from his job as a postman.

She said the brothers had not made a complaint against the individual officers, through the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as they had no confidence in it.

Instead, they have lodged a claim for compensation against the Metropolitan Police with the aim of ensuring they can "go about London and not be accosted by armed police and their lives put at risk," their solicitors said.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed the brothers were stopped and searched by armed officers on 24 August after police were informed of a pizza delivery man in possible possession of a firearm.

They were released without charge. Another man, aged 37, was detained with two imitation weapons but later released without charge.

The brothers' allegations as to what was said by the officers has not been investigated as they have not made an official complaint.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said it had received a claim for compensation from the brothers over the incident "but no court proceedings have been issued against the Metropolitan Police Authority at this time".

A letter of claim is the first step towards suing the police for damages. The police have three months to investigate the claim before deciding to admit liability and settle or contest in court.

In his evidence to MPs, Mr Abdulkahar acknowledged the police had a "difficult job" and that there was a terrorist threat in the UK, but he said: "You cannot go on putting innocent people's lives at risk and their families."


He also told the committee he initially thought he was the victim of an armed robbery when officers burst into his home in June 2006 and shot him.

He said his experiences had led him to conclude that "every Muslim is at risk" from the police.

But he said he was "happy in a way that it happened to me, if it happened to anyone" as it could have led a weaker person to become radicalised.

"If I wasn't strong, I could have turned against this country," Mr Abdulkahar told MPs.

He said he would be willing to meet Sir Ian Blair to discuss how to combat extremism but only if he received a personal apology from the Metropolitan Police chief.

Police were hunting for a suspected chemical device when they raided the Forest Gate house in 2006.

Nothing was found and Scotland Yard later said it regretted the incident and that an "accidental discharge" caused injury in the raid.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said in a report on the 2006 raid it was "satisfied there is no evidence of intent or recklessness on the part of the firearms officer and that no offence was committed in the firing of the weapon".

It concluded the gun, which had its safety catch off as the officer entered the house, had been fired by accident.
&A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.& - Bertrand de Jouvenel

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