This is a guest post by Arthur
Toby Cadman is a barrister who makes his living representing those accused of war crimes. He is presently instructed by the Jamaat-e-Islami genocidaires, whose war crimes trial is currently being bungled by the Bangladesh government
Whatever you may think of his clients, Toby Cadman is performing a very important function in any system of justice. The Bangladesh Government, for example, is failing to meet international standards in relation to its tribunal, and Toby Cadman is one of those properly making criticisms on behalf of his clients.
There is a very big difference, however, between representing your client in court, and political campaigning. A barrister shouldn’t be criticised for what he does in court: that injunction does not apply when he is giving speeches in political fora.
As Jamaat-e-Islam’s barrister, Toby Cadman is right to draw out any failures in due process and judicial norms by the War Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh. However, here in London, he is sharing a platform with political groups who have been involved with crimes against humanity, sectarian violence, terrorism and human rights abuses of their own in Bangladesh and elsewhere. It is correct that people should speak out against the use of special security forces used by successive governments of Bangladesh which has led to various humanitarian abuses. But for an international barrister to point out these political and human rights abuses in Bangladesh, which are legion, and to conflate them with the due process obligations of the Tribunal is politicking and simply disgraceful.
Toby Cadman responded in the comments of that piece:
I have been criticised for not what I said, but rather the forum in which I said it. That is a legitimate comment and Ashik is perfectly entitled to voice his opinion. That actually is one of the main points I have sought to address in the past, open debate on this subject is absolutely essential if Bangladesh wants to consider itself a truly democratic nation.
On 29 February, Toby Cadman will appear at another rally. This one is organised by groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami:
The landscape of activism around Syria is interesting. Within Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood is of course vying to “own” the revolution against the Alawite Assad dictatorship. However, unlike Egypt, they are up against a religiously and culturally diverse population. Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood’s position in Syria is ambivalent: massacred in the 80s by Assad’s father, Syria’s dictatorship provided a home and sponsorship to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist organisation in Palestine.
Within the United Kingdom, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami groups are strong: arguably stronger than in Syria itself. While Syrians are fighting and dying on the front lines in their home country, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s theocratic politics are fighting their own campaign for political influence in this country.
Let’s go through some of the speakers, briefly.
Anas Altikriti called the murder of coalition troops in Iraq “legitimate“. His Cordoba Foundation was given public money which it used to put on a debate on democracy involving the leader of Hizb ut Tahrir, and one of the founders of the terrorist group Al Muhajiroun. Cordoba also sponsored an event in which the star speaker was the late Al Qaeda preacher, Anwar al-Awlaki.
Intissar Khregi is the daughter of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Rashid Ghannoushi. Recent Ennahda rallies have featured proclamations of a new “Caliphate“. Tunisian secularists are desperately concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood will turn their country into such a religious state.
Faisal Hanjra was formerly an officer of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), also represented by Amal Saffour, which is presently promoting the hate preacher, Haitham Al Haddad. He has repeatedly denied a link between the radicalisation of students by his organisation and the acts of terrorism that they then go on to commit.
Shafiur Rahman represents the Islamic Forum Europe. There is so much information on the IFE, that it is difficult to know where to start. Its links to Jamaat-e-Islami. The accusations of war crimes against its founder, Choudhury Mueen-Uddin. The praise by its senior officer Azad Ali for Al Qaeda’s Anwar Al Awlaki, his support for the killing of British soldiers (he sued when it was reported but lost the libel action), the declaration of his opposition to democracy if it conflicted with Sharia, and the belief that Hamas’ Haniyah would make a great Caliph to guide the Ummah.
Daud Abdullah who signed the Daud Abdullah pro-Hamas “Istanbul Declaration“, which contained implicit threats of terrorism, and resulted in the Labour Government breaking off relations with the Muslim Council of Britain.
The organisations and speakers involved in this event are, in the main, aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-e-Islami. For example, one of the supporters is the Bangladesh Crisis Group, a front set up to defend those accused of genocide. Friends of Al Aqsa supports Hamas. The British Muslim Initiative is an outfit run by Muslim Association of Britain/Muslim Brotherhood activists, including Anas Altikriti and Hamas spokesman, Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi. And so on.
This is an Islamist rally. It purports to be about Syrian war crimes – which are legion. In fact, its purpose is to promote a political organisation which would happily commit horrendous war crimes itself, and which happily supports Islamist terrorist outfits.
Does Toby Cadman know any of this? Or has he, once again, accidentally blundered into a den of rascals? If he had googled any of the organisations and individuals who are his co-speakers, the true nature of this event would have been very clear to him. However, barristers are not politicians or experts on Syrian, or British Islamist politics. It is possible that all of this will come as a horrible shock to him.
There are a large number of legitimate, non-Islamist Syrian opposition groups who are desperate for legal advice and assistance. If Toby Cadman fancies commenting below, we’d be very happy to put him in touch with them.
As a footnote to all this, I note that Toby Cadman’s leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami war crimes campaign is Stephen Kay QC. He has an interesting client list:
Syria: Since December 2005 advisor to the Syrian Government and individuals concerning the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier, Rafik Hariri and 14 related terrorist explosions which are the subject of the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
That shows one of the perils of barristers engaging in political activism. Barristers are bound by the cab rank rule, and will appear for villains one day and against them the next. It maintains their impartiality.
But impartiality is a bit difficult if you start appearing at rallies run by extreme sectarian political parties!