Monday, 17 March 2008

At the end of the demonstration one of the speakers was a little
Pakistani girl.

Her father is one of the men arrested, violently, in Barcelona in
January accused of planning a terrorist attack on the city. She
begged for tolerance, for resistance to fear and criminalization
of Muslim people.

For presumption of innocence.

Her father may or may not be guilty. Spain suffered one of the
worst al-qaeda inspired terrorist attacks in Madrid in March
2004 which left 191 dead and 1755 injured.

But I remember a similar spate of arrests in Catalonia in 2003,
"Operation Estany" when 22 men of Arab origin were arrested
on suspicion of plotting a chemical warfare attack. They were
later freed without charges though some have since been re-arrested
and convicted. The sentence is still under appeal.

But one man, Youb Saoudi, not one of the convicted, was extradited
to Algeria in 2006 where he was put on trial accused of belonging to
a terrorist cell. He was found innocent.

The Spanish authorities are refusing to give him a visa to return to
Spain and his family.

The incriminating chemical substance found at the time of the
original arrests was washing powder.

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