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Monday, 17 April, 2000, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Cleric awaits deportation ruling
Cleric
Shafiq ur Rehman (second from right) won his case
By Home Affairs correspondent Jon Silverman

Britain's Court of Appeal will issue a landmark ruling on Monday when it decides if a Pakistani cleric accused of recruiting British Muslims to fight in Kashmir should be deported.

The Home Office says Shafiq ur Rehman, who lives in Greater Manchester, is a threat to national security because he supports terrorism.

Six months ago he won his case in front of a newly-created body, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, but Britain's home secretary is seeking to reverse that ruling.

The case against Shafiq ur Rehman has aroused strong passions amongst British Muslims.

The cleric arrived in the UK from his native Pakistan seven years ago, but in 1998 he was refused permission to remain after an investigation by the security service.

National security

He was accused of helping to send young British Muslims to camps in Pakistan to be given weapons training.

The Home Office says Mr Rehman is the head of an Islamic group, the MDI, which has a military wing fighting a holy war for the liberation of Kashmir.

But the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the government had failed to make out its case that he actively supported terrorism.

Lawyers for Britain's home secretary will tell the Court of Appeal that the meaning of national security had been wrongly applied and that officers of the security service, MI5, and the police Special Branch should have been questioned in closed session.

The outcome of this case will affect a number of other deportations which the British Government wishes to make on grounds of national security.

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