MOJUK: Newsletter ‘Inside Out’ No 36

Sad News Justice has been Denied Again

Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alamihave lost their attempt to have the verdicts overturned.

At the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Rose, sitting with Mr Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Goldring, announced the decision to a packed court.

The Court of Appeal also refused to reduce Samar and Jawad’s 20-year sentences.

The ruling was greeted by cries of "shame" by supporters of the appellants in the public gallery.

As the judges left the court some waved large banners declaring Samar and Jawad’s "innocence".

'New evidence'
     The two denied involvement in the bombings or in any terrorist organisation and argued that new evidence which would exonerate them, had come to light.
     Their counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, earlier accused the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office of wrongly throwing a blanket of secrecy over intelligence agency information, which defence lawyers believed could clear the pair.
Botmeh and Alami claimed that "suppression of evidence" rendered their trial unfair and their convictions unsafe.
They further asserted that non-disclosure of relevant information was a breach of Article Six of the Human Rights Convention.

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Statement by Samar Alami - November 1st 2001

Today, justice has lost, injustice won, again. The judgement further aborts justice, shamefully. The judges seem to have blindness in their hearts and minds. The grave injustice, started in 1995 has today been perpetuated, and the wound deepened. Jawad and I have now to languish onto a 7th or 8th year in prison despite being part of no crime or conspiracy whatsoever.

Despite all the irregularities, inconsistencies, prejudices, errors, injustices, etc that we were subjected to since our first arrest in 1995, we though the broader picture would be clear for all to see: we are innocent. However, the biased and blinkered approach of the varied investigating and prosecuting authorities meant that once we were viewed as suspects, they refused to see, deliberately ignored or manipulated evidence that points in a different and more logical direction.

Furthermore, the different branches of the British government have made a mockery of the British legal system by their repeated cover-ups and interference, and left any semblance of "due legal process" in tatters. Our basic right to a fair and public hearing has been flagrantly and repeatedly violated by practices that fly in the face of basic principles of fairness, especially those expressed in the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. Particularly so as a result of repeated secretive one-sided hearing before, during, and after trial (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001).

The catalogue of "human errors" by all the concerned -police, prosecution, security agencies- about the same highly specific and serious warning about bombings epitomises the travesty of justice. Worst is the judges' acceptance of such ridiculous excuses!

How can fairness be claimed when mountains of evidence or information is hidden or withheld, even from the trial judge (if only those in the boxes seen in court in October 2001)?

Politicians, prosecution, and judges conspired against justice through PII.

Today justice has been further denied by maintaining our wrongful conviction.

I am Innocent and nothing and nobody will make me a terrorist.

As a Palestinian and a human being, it seems seeking justice is like asking for the moon! But I refuse to be buried alive with the hidden evidence and do not accept the ruling of a system lacking basic transparency and fairness, and seeming to be able to justify anything it likes!

I have to continue to be deprived of precious liberty for no crime, yet I have yet to see one Israeli responsible for one crime against 1 Palestinian or Lebanese in the past 5 months or 5 or 50 years brought to account. Israeli terror and might will never be right.

I will never regret being part of the Palestinian people's struggle for justice and basic rights, for life with a minimum of dignity, humanity, and freedom.

Everyone's life & freedom are most precious. If my life and freedom have to be compromised in the course of seeking greater justice and freedom so be it! I can never give up or give in to injustice. For that would probably be worse than death and is the greatest threat to my humanity. I will continue to hope that truth and justice will eventually prevail, that the nightmares will be over before it is too late, and that the efforts and sacrifices of so many will not be in vain. I remain hungry and angry for justice and freedom. I vow to somehow fight on as best as I can and as long as it takes, despite the pains of the continued injustice.

I reject today's wrongful judgement and reserve the right to a fuller response in the near future.

I wholeheartedly express my sincerest thanks and appreciation to all my family, friends, wonderful legal team, and all those who supported our case.

Down with oppression and injustice! Down with Israeli occupation and aggression! Long live freedom and justice! Victory to the just cause of the Palestinian people!

God damn all conspiracies!

Samar Alami, HMP Holloway

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Statement by Jawad Botmeh - - November 1st 2001

"We have had an unfair trial that was followed, after a long wait, by an unfair appeal. This was a political trial from day one and we are totally innocent. The real perpetrators still remain free. We were only convenient scapegoats.

A huge amount of evidence is still hidden, all of which points away from us. We will carry on the struggle for our freedom and justice as part of the larger struggle for our people's freedom and justice.

Evidence -including eye witness evidence about a report written by a senior MI5 manager- points possibly towards the involvement of Israel in the bombings. This report would not have been written without strong supporting intelligence evidence or information. The court has totally ignored this.

The court has also refused to hear a witness that would have pointed towards the further existence of undisclosed information in the hands of the prosecution and the secret services. Justice cannot be served with all this cover up.

The British authorities have followed an alarming familiar Israeli agenda in dealing with us as Palestinians. The Israelis in Tel Aviv and the policymakers at ten Downing Street should understand that without justice for the Palestinians there will be no peace. Therefore, any declaration from Tony Blair about Palestinian statehood is frowned upon in the Palestinian and Arab streets. Tony Blair wants the Arabs to believe that he will help restore human rights of all Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation when the British authorities have failed in upholding human rights of two Palestinians living in the UK. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have anxiously been awaiting the outcome of this case to assess the earnest of the proposals made by the British Government regarding justice for the Palestinians.

What we faced in this trial is racist and prejudicial attitudes towards Palestinians and Arabs. These attitudes extend themselves into the assumption that keeping Palestinian prisoners in prison can coincide with their families and people falling in line behind a peace process. The case of Northern Ireland should teach us otherwise. Nobody could have dreamt of a peace process for NI as long as their prisoners remained in jail, why does it then seem so natural for the Palestinian case.

We are innocent, political prisoners of a highly political conflict, no peace can exist without the resolution of this as well as of the wider injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people. "

Jawad Botmeh, HMP Frankland

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British Courts Guilty of Another Miscarriage of Justice

Innocent Palestinians Denied Justice again: 1 November 2001

On Thursday 1st of November 2001, the appeal judges dismissed the appeal by Ms Samar Alami (Lebanese-Palestinian) and Mr Jawad Botmeh (Palestinian), against their wrongful conviction in 1996 in relation to the 1994 bombings at the Israeli Embassy and Balfour House in London. This is despite the fact that a huge amount of evidence is still hidden, all of which points way from Samar and Jawad. They are the victims of a terrible miscarriage of justice, and while they languish in prison, the actual bombers remain free.

Evidence, including eye-witness evidence about a report written by a senior MI5 manager points towards the possible involvement of Israel in the bombings. The appeal court has also refused to hear a witness that would have pointed towards the existence of more undisclosed information in the hands of the police, prosecution, and the secret services.

All this information confirms that others were behind the bombings. Justice can never be served with all this cover-up. It can never be right to make innocent people pay the price of other people's crimes.

Tony Blair is currently touring the Middle East trying to convince the Arabs that he will help restore the human rights of all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, whilst the British authorities have failed to uphold the human rights of two Palestinians in the UK. The Lebanese and Palestinian people are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this case to assess the honesty of the proposals made by the British government regarding justice for Palestinians. It will now be rather difficult for Palestinians to accept the proposals made by the British government as genuine or honest.

Samar & Jawad are innocent political prisoners of a highly political conflict. No peace can exist without the just resolution of their wrongful convictions, as well as the wider injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people.

Today, the institutional racism of the system has claimed two more young lives, another sad day for British justice. The appeal judges have sanctioned cover-ups, incompetence, and abject failures in disclosure. They've chosen to protect bungling by the intelligence services, even though these have told their counter-parts in Arab countries that they know Samar & Jawad are innocent. The British government has failed on the promises it gave to Arab governments that they would address the "errors" in this case fairly and squarely.

We in the Campaign vow to continue to fight this monstrous injustice till Samar & Jawad are free and exonerated. We know that thousands of people around Britain and around the world think the same and will support us. Apart for the next legal steps, the families will be taking advice on the possibility of either launching their own investigation or offering a reward for information leading to the quashing of the convictions.

Freedom & Justice for Samar Alami & Jawad Botmeh