Court of Appeal upholds conviction in terror house seizure case

Solicitor Saeed Hafezi sadi that the Farooqi family were "devastated" by the decision

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A man jailed for life for trying to recruit people for the Afghan jihad has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Three judges said the trial of Munir Farooqi, from Longsight, Manchester, and two other men had been fair.

The Court of Appeal decision paves the way for the first ever seizure of a family home as a terrorist asset.

No other member of his family has been convicted in relation to his offences; his relatives say they will fight the attempt to take their home.

Farooqi was given four life sentences in 2011 after being convicted of preparation for terrorist acts overseas, soliciting to murder and dissemination of terrorist publications.

His trial heard that he had used the family's large Victorian home to hold meetings to radicalise recruits. One of Farooqi's sons was acquitted at trial of charges relating to his father's actions.

Following his conviction, Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said they would seek to take the property because it had been used for a terrorist purpose and had been "in the possession or control" of Farooqi at the time he committed the offences.

Family life

The property forfeiture powers are contained in the Terrorism Act 2000.

The courts have general powers to order the seizure of personal property from people convicted of crimes in the UK. But no police force has ever tried to confiscate a family home in a terrorism case.

When today's Court of Appeal judgement came, the family looked devastated. Flanked by supporters, they said they would fight the forfeiture application that will now come because, they say, it amounts to a form of collective punishment.

Police chiefs say they thought very carefully about launching an attempt to take the family home. The circumstances are different to, for example, confiscating a mansion or cars bought with drugs money.

But they say the law is on their side because there is a clear link between the home and Farooqi's offences. The ultimate outcome of this case is likely to set very important precedents for years to come.

Police and prosecutors have used the power to take other personal property, but they have never tried to confiscate an entire home.

Now the conviction has been upheld, the application to take the home will be legally activated and considered separately by another judge.

Seven members of Farooqi's family from three generations still live in the house and they say the application is a breach of their right to family life.

They argue that Parliament never intended the asset-seizing powers to be used in this way, and insist the home is owned by Farooqi's wife and daughter.

Farooqi's trial heard that he and two other men ran an Islamic market stall. He was approached by two undercover police officers who were pretending to be at a low ebb and interested in Islam.

Farooqi bragged about fighting with the Taliban and the jury heard he encouraged the officers to fight and die in Afghanistan.

Greater Manchester Police said the case had been about "a concerted effort" to prepare people ideologically to fight against British forces abroad.

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