International criminal law specialist Toby M. Cadman asked UK govrnment to immediately remove a Bangladesh Minister Mr. Siddiqui from the UK, and thereafter deny him further entry to UK.
In a written request submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ms. Theresa May, Toby asked this on pursuant to Paragraphs 320(19) and 321(ii) of Part 9 of the UK Immigrations Rules on the basis that Mr. Siddiqui’s presence in the UK ‘would not be conducive to the Public Good’ following statements made that amount to incitement to commit murder.
Mr. Siddiqui is a Bangladeshi politician. He is a Member of Parliament and the current Minister of Posts & Telecommunications. He is currently visiting the UK. He has given several speeches recently, both in Bangladesh and the United Kingdom in which he actively encouraged the members and supporters of the ruling Awami League political party to murder opposition supporters.
Following the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mr. Siddiqui stated:
“Jamaat is the anti-liberation force and Jamaat called [public demonstrations] against the death sentence given by the Tribunal. Why do you (Awami league members) sit idle? Don’t you know who comes to join street procession? Why don’t you catch and engage in internal conflict. Today is my last speech, if possible go and kill those who called [public demonstrations] by going to their houses.”[Watch video below] (unofficial translation)
Thereafter, in early March 2014, Mr. Siddique gave a speech in East London in which he declared:
“I have requested my leader [Sheikh Hasina] to execute another verdict in March so that in my old age I can enjoy and boost my energy.”[Watch video below]
In his statement Toby mentioned that upholding the right to freedom of expression is central to any democracy. Few States can boast greater protection to such a fundamental right as the United Kingdom and however repugnant a person’s views may be, in the words of Voltaire ‘I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ However, such a principled right must be subject to certain conditions, such as racial hatred and incitement to commit acts of violence.
Toby argued that it is quite clear Mr. Siddiqui’s carefully chosen words are not those that could be argued as being open to interpretation or permitted under freedom of expression. Mr. Siddiqui is clearly asking his supporters to commit murder in the name of the State and thereafter celebrate such deplorable conduct. The fact that several hundred members of anti-government movements have been killed in recent months and over two hundred remain missing tends to contextualize the Minister’s statements.
In the statement regarding Mr. Abdul Latif Siddiqui Toby said,
“The UK is renowned for upholding freedom of speech, and this should be supported; however, it cannot be argued that anyone who advocates for committing murder and actively encourages members of the public to carry out such conduct is exercising his right of free speech. This constitutes incitement to commit murder.”
It is notable that an application submitted to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on 4 February 2014, asking her office to investigate crimes against humanity being committed in Bangladesh, namely state sponsored extra judicial killings, torture in police custody and enforced disappearance. To have a current minister of that government to explicitly incite murder gives extra credence to such allegations, and such behavior is set to continue. The UK Government will quite clearly not want to be seen to support or tolerate such behavior by allowing those persons responsible to enter the UK.
Toby also stated that based on the level of violence that has been observed in Bangladesh over the past few months, there is a very real risk that the ongoing presence of Mr. Siddiqui could lead to tension within those communities in the UK.
Toby Cadman is an established international criminal law specialist in the areas of war crimes, terrorism, extradition, mutual assistance and human rights law.