More than four months after he was arrested at Heathrow airport, UK director of non-profit organisation, CAGE, was formally charged by the British police on Wednesday at the Bethnal Green police station in east London.
Muhammad Rabbani has been sentenced three months in prison with a fine of US$3 200 for alleged “willful obstruction and frustration of a search”, said the campaign group that advocates for those affected by British terror legislation within and outside the country.
“Rabbani was unable to hand over the passwords to his devices as he was carrying crucial evidence taken from a torture survivor and did not have permission from the client to share the information,” CAGE said in the statement. “Rabbani has taken a principled stance to protect the right to privacy in an ongoing case of torture that implicates high-ranking officials.”
The 36-year-old was detained at the airport in November under Schedule 7 powers – allowing passengers to be stopped and searched at entry points without ground for suspicion. It allows authorities to seize and search any electronic devices and gives them the authority to book those who refuse to comply with criminal charges under the British Terrorism Act.
Rabbani, currently on bail, believes he was right in refusing to provide the password. “I do believe I am doing what any reasonable person would do under the circumstances in order to protect the privacy of a client,” he said.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed reports of charging Rabbani – who is due to appear before the magistrate on June 20.
This article originally appeared on Al Jazeera
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