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article imagePetition to prevent Manchester-based family from eviction Special

By Iram Ramzan     Nov 8, 2011 in World
Manchester - Around 30 people gathered outside the Crown Prosecution Service in Manchester on Tuesday to hand in a petition which generated over 10,000 signatures to prevent a family from being evicted from their home in Longsight, Manchester.
The “Save the Family Home” campaign was set up after the Farooqi family of five adults and two children, including an eight month old baby, were told they could be made homeless as a result of the father’s conviction.
The father, Munir Farooqi, was found guilty of terrorism charges, which he is appealing. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the CPS want to seize his home in Longsight, Manchester, saying it was used for terrorism. This is the first time that such a move has been attempted under section 23A of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows forfeiture of property in terrorism cases. If granted, the order would enable the property to be sold and the proceeds placed into the Magistrates’ Court.
Harris Farooqi, who also faced terror charges but was found not guilty, said the signatures were a 'small drop in the ocean'. "When a person commits no crime, he always wins", he said after the petition was handed in to the CPS. "It's been a miscarriage of justice and we will prove that very soon".
Sarah Ayub, of Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK), said their aim was to 'stand up' for the Farooqi family but made it clear that the petition had nothing to do with Munir Farooqi's conviction, but was a stand against collective punishment.
GMP believe that Munir Farooqi had had carried out most of his terrorism-related offences at the family home. Fatima Katergi, of south Manchester, said she disagreed with their proposal.
She said: "I think it's important that we support people from our community. It could be anyone . It's not about being a Muslim, it's not a Muslim issue".
Martin Hopwood of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) said his organisation had helped with the distribution of petitions around several mosques in Greater Manchester and they had received good responses.
"I'm glad to have done my fair share", he said. "I think it's a great tragedy, first of all, and I think it's a crime against humanity".
Rhetta Moran, from RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research), a Manchester-based human rights organisation, said that if the court decided to seize the home, it could set a precedent.
It now remains for a court to decide whether to allow the property to be seized.The case is expected to be heard in March next year, so the family will not know its fate until then.
Another meeting is expected to be held this Friday with the Counter Terrorism Unit in Longsight, Greater Manchester.
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