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No iPod allowed for terror suspect student
The Guardian
Saturday, April 13, 2013

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Judge rules that British undergraduate of Somali descent who is under a surveillance order can freely associate with fellow students.

A terror suspect who is subject to a surveillance order has won the right to socialise freely with his fellow university students – but has been prevented from using an iPod.

The undergraduate, a British citizen of Somali descent named only as "CF", had objected to restrictions imposed on him under a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPIM).

Last year, CF began a university course in London and applied to vary the restrictions including the requirement of overnight residence at the same, specified address. He also asked to use an iPod and associate with students without giving advance notice.

The security service, MI5, objected to all his applications. In his decision, Mr Justice Wilkie accepted that the file-storing capacity of an iPod would allow messages to be sent to him by "Islamist extremists". Instead, a portable CD player, so that he could listen to music, would be permitted.

On the question of association, the court was told that "the Security Service assesses that the relaxation of this requirement [of two days' advance notice] would be so broad they would allow CF [who remains a security risk] to meet freely with individuals of his choice".

The young man was acquitted of travelling to Afghanistan for the purposes of engaging in terrorism, but during his trial absconded to Somalia where he was involved in fighting alongside the al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabaab.

He was eventually returned to the UK in 2011, where he was jailed for breaching his bail conditions, and on release made the subject of a TPIM surveillance order.

Mr Justice Wilkie said: "In my judgment, and paying all due deference to the expertise and experience of the Security Service, the present range of requirements … do not satisfy the requirements of proportionality.

"They must impose a chilling effect on CF's participation in the life of a student on this course without any, apparent, beneficial effect on national security. It is unrealistic to suppose that, whilst sitting in a lecture or seminar or in the library whilst working, CF is not in a position to have discussions with students on his course which fall outside the strict ambit of his studies; and it is wholly artificial to expect him to monitor his contacts and conversations in such a way."

He invited CF and officials to discuss how to vary his right to socialise.

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