British Muslims have complained about falling victims to repeated follow-up calls, visits and questioning by MI5 agents trying to recruit them as informants in their Muslim communities.
Known as Schedule 7, the curious but wide-ranging legal provision enables the authorities to stop virtually anyone at British ports of entry for up to nine hours with no evidence or even suspicion of involvement in crime.
For many individuals subjected to the regulation, however, an airport interrogation is just the beginning of a series of strange encounters with the security forces.
British intelligence agencies are using such stops to recruit young Muslim men as informants, GlobalPost has learned through conversations with lawyers, human rights groups and individuals stopped under Schedule 7.
“The psychology of the whole thing — it’s humiliating, it’s aggressive,” Ahmed, a Londoner native Muslim who requested his real name not be used.
The misery of Ahemd started in 2006 when he was stopped for the first time as he was returning home from a trip to Jordan to study Arabic.
The native Londoner was questioned for nine hours about his travel history, family and mosque.
The interrogators, who identified themselves as agents from the domestic security agency MI5 and the national security police Special Branch, took fingerprints, photographs and an oral swab.
Ahmed’s unforgettable experience was done under a legal cover in the British law, known as Schedule 7.
A provision of the sweeping Terrorism Act of 2000, Schedule 7 gives the authorities broad powers during such detentions. Property may be confiscated for up to seven days. Any information on cellphones, computers or other electronic devices may be downloaded and the copies kept. Refusing to answer questions can be considered a criminal offense.
Alice Wyss of Amnesty International, one of several rights groups calling for a review of the regulation, describes its powers as “intrusive.”
“Drawn so broadly,” she says, “you can see the consequences for individuals who are caught up in them.”
source: voice of russsia