"The police jumped to conclusions."
After having anti-Semitism charges against them dismissed, a group of British Pakistani men claimed that the police had treated them like “terrorists”.
When they travelled from Blackburn to participate in a rally in favour of Palestine in May 2021, Adil Mota, Mohammed Hanif, Asif Ali and Jawad Hussain were accused of yelling anti-Jewish slurs.
The four men were accused of using “threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour, with intent, likely to stir up racial hatred” towards the Jewish people.
The men were detained in relation to a viral video that showed a Palestinian flag-draped vehicle, whilst threatening to rape Jewish women and chanting anti-semitic slurs.
The four were charged but in November 2022, all charges were dismissed when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stated there was no chance of victory.
Three of the defendants have discussed how the horrible incident completely upended their lives in their first public statements.
Accompanied by criminal law attorney Ghaffar Khan of Blackburn, the three said that the police handled them badly and didn’t care about their rights when detaining them.
All of them claimed that having police cars with anti-terrorism officials stationed outside their residences for over two months made them seem bad in front of their communities.
They said that the police broke into their houses and removed unnecessary items that have yet to be returned, even though the charges against them have been withdrawn.
Adil Mota said: “I was made to stand outside in the rain for 30 minutes and I suffer from asthma.
“They kept me and others out in the cold. It was freezing.
“They manhandled us, treated us like terrorists.”
Mohammed Hanif said: “For two to three weeks the police were coming to our houses daily in Blackburn.
“The whole thing was based on anti-terrorism issues. The police jumped to conclusions.
“They were knocking on our doors at all hours to harass us in the name of checking on us… whether we were home or not.
“They forced their way into my house… They put all my family in one room to do searches.
“Our whole life was put on hold. People who will not get to know the outcome will assume we are guilty of these offences.”
Adil Mota denied he was ever involved in raising slogans against the Jewish people. He said:
“We were there to support Palestine. We raised slogans for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine.
“We had nothing against the Jews or the Israeli civilians.”
He revealed they were all in the same car when the police swooped on them just outside of London as they were making their way to Blackburn after the protest.
“There were police helicopters involved. There were armed policemen from the anti-terrorism unit.
“I believe there were over 100 policemen with sniffer dogs and masks holding guns at us.”
“We all were in the same car when we were dragged out.
“The police were wearing body cams. We were taken into separate cars.”
He stressed he had Jewish friends and he has never been anti-Jewish.
The men have revealed how the ordeal affected their jobs.
Prospective employers were not prepared to hire them because their names were splashed across the media over the allegations and they were declared of crimes they did not commit.