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The case of Hicham Yezza

Those of you based in the UK may have read about the arrest of a PG student and an employee of the University of Nottingham, because they were in possession of an al-Qa’ida manual. When it emerged that the manual is freely available at a US government website and that the student used it for research on his MA dissertation, while the employee printed the 1,500-pages-document for his student friend who could not afford to print such a large document, both men were released, after spending 6 days in custody. However, the employee was immediately rearrested and is now facing deportation to his native Algeria.

His name is Hicham Yezza and he is a friend of mine. I normally don’t ask people to sign petitions and I shan’t do it this time either. However, I just wanted to bring this case to your attention, because I believe it raises some wider questions, concerning academic freedom and the state of the UK society post- 9/11 and 7/7. For more details, you may read my article posted today at Open democracy: http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/a-democracy-of-suspicion

In case you wished to sign a petition protesting at Yezza’s predicament, you may do so via a web site (http://freehichamyezza.wordpress.com/) or through a Facebook group: Global Support to Stop The Deporation of Hicham Yezza (the group has more than 1,500 members/signatories). If you don’t wish to sign a petition, but sympathise with Yezza’s case, please feel free to forward this message on.

Peščanik.net, 31.05.2008.