London – In a positive step for the CAGE Pass With Privacy campaign, Lord Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Foskett reserved judgement in Muhammed Rabbani’s appeal against a conviction handed down for refusing to provide the passwords to his devices at a Schedule 7 stop.
Rabbani’s legal team raised three pertinent points in their arguments which have major implications for civil society members, journalists, NGO workers and charities, as well as all those who travel through UK borders with sensitive information on their electronic devices.
These points include:
- The legality of stopping Rabbani and whether the Prosecution should be made to adduce evidence as to the reason for stopping him;
- Whether the Schedule 7 Code of Practice contains sufficient safeguards to protect confidential and special procedure material;
- Whether an offence could be committed where Rabbani refused to give his passwords based on the fact that he held confidential material.
Muhammad Rabbani, CAGE international director, said:
“The judge confirmed today that this case has ‘parallels’ to the Miranda ruling which could impact anyone travelling to or from the UK while in possession of confidential or work related information. We intend to pursue the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.”
“The prosecution confirmed that my stop was not random, but they were unwilling to reveal the reasons for targeting me. This raises serious concerns about the way Schedule 7 powers can be exercised arbitrarily and disproportionality. This must not be allowed to continue.”
“No one should be convicted of a crime if they are protecting confidential information connected to a serious case of torture. Clearly the Police failed in their job by not properly implementing the Code of Practice. I am confident with my decision to refuse passwords and I am also confident that the courts will recognise my innocence.”
Henry Blaxland QC, lawyer acting for Rabbani, said in court:
“Schedule 7 powers are coercive and intrusive and violate article 8 and 10 of an individual’s human rights.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)