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Dec 4, 2009

Two years of the Baloch case in the United Kingdom – bail money still pending?

by Faiz Baluch

reposted from balochwarna.com

Exactly two years ago from today in London, three places were raided by the British Anti Terrorism Command (also known as SO15) from the new Scotland Yard simultaneously in the areas of Ealing, Wembley and Hunger lane. Two of the houses belonged to Hybyair Marri a Baloch leader and son of prominent Baloch leader Nawab Khair Baksh Marri. At the time of the raid Mr Marri was residing at his Ealing house and Faiz Baluch was living at the Wembley house. Baloch leader Hybyair Marri and activist Faiz Baloch were apparently arrested on behalf of the government of Pakistan ‘Musharraf’s regime’.

Their arrest took place soon after Shaheed Balaach Marri’s assassination on 20 November 2007; it was probably a good opportunity for the Pakistan government as they had got rid of one Marri and wanted to get rid of the other Marri. From 23 November up to the arrest of Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch, the British security forces installed secret camera in front of their houses and followed them everywhere. All the well-wishers and friends who had come to pay their respect to Balaach Marri had been filmed by the secret cameras and later the prosecution tried to say that these people were gathering to make some sinister plans.

The Baloch activists were taken to the high security Paddington Green police station for interrogation. Later it came to public notice that they had been charged under terrorism act 2000. There were four charges against each of the Baloch activists, which were as follows; 1) Possession of an article for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism – contrary to section 57 of terrorism act 2000. 2) Collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person for committing or preparing acts of terrorism – contrary to section 58 of terrorism act 2000. 3) Preparation of terrorist acts – contrary section 5 of terrorism act 2005. 4) Incitement to commit an act or acts of terrorism – contrary to section 59 of terrorism act 2000. Additionally Mr. Marri had been charged with possessing a CS Gas canister which comes under fire arm act.

After one week of interrogation and isolation Baloch activists had formally been charged and sent to Britain’s notorious, high security prison Belmarsh for awaiting trial to prove their innocence. Belmarsh is the toughest prison and a place for high risk criminals. Mr Marri and Baluch were treated as Category ‘A’ prisoners ‘a threat to general public that means’. An A Category prisoner is not allowed to have any visits without a formal invitation approved by the Home Office, prisoners of this category are also striped searched ‘which is a degrading process, specially for a Baloch’ after any visits to their legal teams, coming back from gym, work or for any reason if they go out from their cells on their way back they are strip searched. Cat ‘A’ prisoners are also locked in isolated cells ‘often known as single cells’.

After spending almost 5 month in prison Mr Hyrbyair Marri was released on bail on very strict conditions, he was not allowed to attend any political meeting regarding Balochistan, he was not allowed to speak to the media, he was not allowed to phone Balochistan, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he had to wear a tag at all times, he was not allowed to leave home between 8pm to 8am and he had to report to a police station every day. Same conditions were attached with Faiz Baluch’s bail when he was released a couple of months after Mr Marri release. In addition Faiz had to answer to a “Voice Recognition Machine” call every midnight. Apart from these conditions Mr Marri had paid nearly £300,000 cash as security, that money had been deposited to the court’s account until any decision is made regarding his case, and if Mr Marri fled the country the money would be seized by the government or Court. After any decision regarding the case the money would and should be returned to those who stood as Mr Marri’s security.

However, in Mr Marri’s case that did not happen, in fact the UK government has not paid Mr Marri’s bail money back after his acquittal in February 2008. Although the money was paid by several friends and well-wishers of Mr Marri but after his release Mr Marri paid back to all of his friends with difficulty. All the people who had got their money back from Mr Marri wrote to the CPS and to the court that the money should now be paid to Mr. Marri. The police and court are now denying paying Marri’s bail money using different lame excuses. To Hyrbyair Marri it seems “legal blunder”. He thinks the UK government is still acting on behalf of Pakistani intelligence agencies and to trying to make financial difficulties for him. In the 70s Pakistan confiscated lands, took the vehicles of Hyrbyair’s family in order to weaken them financially and to force them to succumb to Pakistan government pressure. Hyrbyair Marri believes the UK government seems to be doing exactly the same today.

Despite all the difficulties Hyrbyair Marri is determined that such pressure tactics cannot stop him for campaigning for his country’s Independence. He continues to advocate freedom, after his release he has been actively taking part in protests, public gathering and spoke to media regarding Baloch cause. His view is that Balochistan was forcefully occupied and the occupation must come to an end. He believes in dialogue and finding a peaceful solution to Balochistan’s problem but he is adamant that the occupiers of Baloch land must withdraw unconditionally and immediately. He insists that Independence of Balochistan must be a part of any dialogue with Pakistan to resolve Balochistan issue and negotiations must be guaranteed and observed by international guarantors.


Please click here for further background information on this case.