//Afzal finds support from UK-Asians, Labour MPs

Afzal finds support from UK-Asians, Labour MPs

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL, 26 Jan, 2007 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

 LONDON: Sections of the South-Asian community and British MPs have called on President Kalam to prevent "injustice" to Mohammed Afzal Guru, who is facing a death sentence for alleged involvement in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.

MPs Roger Godsiff and Jeremby Corbyn of the governing Labour Party joined campaign groups such as South Asia Solidarity and the Association of British Kashmiris to protest against the alleged "violation (by India of Afzal's) human rights".

Godsiff's Birmingham constituency has a large Kashmiri population. Interestingly, however, the protest, was ignored by all of Britain's South-Asian origin MPs and many others whose constituencies have large numbers of Kashmiri voters.

Amrit Wilson of the activist South Asia Solidarity Group said many British MPs, including former international development secretary Clare Short, had refused to lend their names to the campaign to secure justice for Guru.

The protest (on Friday) outside the Indian High Commission here, was attended by more than a hundred people, organisers told TOI.

The protest was organised for Friday to highlight the paradox of an allegedly vibrant Indian democracy and impending abuse of justice regarding Afzal, Wilson said.

The protesters shouted slogans such as "Torture, lies and a fabricated confession — is this India's war on terror" and "Torture, lies and fabricated confession — is this India's democracy?"

The British campaign to secure justice for Afzal centres around the allegation that he was "convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence, and from the start, had no effective legal defence." The protesters said, "He was tortured by the police and security forces and has been the victim of a hostile media campaign."