Shaykh Raed Salah Wins Appeal Against Home Office Deportation Order

Good news from MEMO: the Palestinian leader, Shaykh Raed Salah, who you may recall was arrested in the UK in June 2011 while on a speaking tour, after the Home Office issued a banning order against him, has won his appeal against the deportation order.

The Guardian revealed a few months ago that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, had acted to ban Raed Salah soon after receiving an email from the McCarthyite Jewish organisation, the Community Security Trust which had urged her to take action. The Home Secretary took this drastic action despite being warned by her own UK Border Agency officials that the case against Raed Salah was ‘very weak’.

Raed Salah’s victory is a huge embarrassment for the Home Office and the Israel Lobby which has been caught red-handed in trying to prevent the UK public from hearing first-hand accounts from a leading Palestinian about the apartheid-like conditions his people face in Israel.

Update: Today’s edition of the Guardian carries a story about this and includes these interesting paragraphs:

“Emails that emerged in the course of legal proceedings indicate a measure of the haste with which May’s office moved to exclude Salah.

“Just 17 minutes after receiving a report on him, prepared by the Community Security Trust, a UK charity that monitors antisemitism, Faye Johnson, private secretary to the home secretary, emailed about a parliamentary event Salah was due to attend.

“Is there anything that we can do to prevent him from attending (eg could we exclude him on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour?)” she wrote. The CST’s report said Salah’s record of provocative statements carried a risk that his presence in the UK could have “a radicalising impact” on his audiences.

“UK Border Agency officials were dubious and a senior official wrote to May, saying that while there was evidence that would allow the home secretary to exclude Salah on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour, “the disputed underlying evidence could make an exclusion decision vulnerable to legal challenge.”

The immigration tribunal had been told that the home secretary acted on information provided to the government by the CST and the Jewish Board of Deputies.

“In its ruling, it said that “it is of concern” that May apparently did not consult any Muslim or Palestinian organisations. It noted the evidence of Robert Lambert, a retired head of the Metropolitan police’s Muslim Contact Unit, and David Miller, a sociology professor from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland who set up the Spinwatch site, “that whereas the CST has done invaluable work in identifying threats to the Jewish community in the UK from the far right such as the British National party (BNP), it failed to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and therefore gives an unbalanced perspective, but they did not say that it was improper for the secretary of state to seek the views of the CST in this matter.””

So, we now know that the Home Secretary did not consult any Muslim or Palestinian organisation about her intention to ban Raed Salah but instead relied on the partisan testimony of the Jewish Community Security Trust and the Jewish Board of Deputies and over-ruled the advice of her own UK Border Agency officials. What a mess.

Update 2: Here is the Upper Tribunal’s ruling in full for all you legal eagles.

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