Councillor held by Special Branch at Heathrow Airport
PUBLISHED: 17:49 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:09 05 October 2010
Carmen Valino 2007
TOWER Hamlets councilor Oliur Rahman was detained at Heathrow airport today (Wed) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He was held for more than 30 minutes and quizzed by Special Branch about why he had attended the 6th Cairo international anti-war conference in Egypt last week
By Ted Jeory
TOWER Hamlets councilor Oliur Rahman was detained at Heathrow airport today (Wednesday) under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
He has expressed outrage over the incident.
Cllr Rahman was held for more than 30 minutes and quizzed by Special Branch about why he had attended the sixth Cairo international anti-war conference in Egypt.
Cllr Rahman told the Advertiser from Heathrow: "A man standing behind the desk at immigration control asked to see my passport and said he was a police officer.
"He asked why I'd been in Cairo, how long I'd been there, what contacts I'd made and where I lived.
"I asked what was the purpose of these questions and he said he was from Special Branch and had the right to ask under the Terrorism Act.
"So I asked if he was calling me a terrorist. He said 'no' and went away and left me for half-an-hour."
Cllr Rahman, a Left List candidate for the May 1 London Assembly elections, was later released.
"I'm really shaken about it," he continued.
"They didn't stop anyone else from that flight and I'm sure it was because of the colour of my skin and because I'm a Muslim.
"It really makes you realize what happens to people."
He is writing a letter of complaint to the Met Police.
Scotland Yard said: "A man was stopped at Terminal 4 under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, but was not arrested and was allowed to go on his way."
The Cairo conference has provided a forum for anti-war groups and a focus of opposition to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.