The Government is facing criticism after a British Muslim was among 12 men released without charge after being arrested in anti-terror raids sparked by a police gaffe.
Hamza Shenwari (41) was held after a high-profile operation involving hundreds of anti-terror officers in the north west of England.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke of a “major terrorist plot” being investigated amid reports of shopping centres, football grounds and nightclubs being targeted by Muslim extremists.
But yesterday the remaining 11 suspects held since April 8 were released without charge — heaping more criticism on Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s department.
Opposition parties, human rights lawyers, Muslim groups and local community leaders |accused the Government of mistreating the suspects or botching the anti-terror operation.
Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said he was “not embarrassed or humiliated” by the outcome of the operation sparked after Bob Quick, Britain’s most senior anti-terror |officer, inadvertently leaked |secret documents.
But one Muslim community leader in Manchester said the |police could “not keep getting it wrong” as it was “sapping” public confidence in the force.
Apart from Mr Shenwari, all the released men are Pakistani nationals and have been handed over to immigration authorities to be deported, according to Number 10, on “national security” grounds.
Mr Shenwari (41), from Galsworthy Avenue in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, was arrested by police on the M602 motorway |between Liverpool and Manchester as armed officers swooped at addresses in both cities and in Clitheroe, Lancs.
The operation was brought forward after Mr Quick, the Met’s |Assistant Commissioner, inadvertently revealed secret plans of the raid to Downing Street Press photographers on his way to brief the Prime Minister. Mr Quick has since resigned and police are adamant his error did not compromise the investigation.
Mr Shenwari is understood to be a member of Tabligee Jamat, an Islamic group which goes door-to-door in their local communities visiting Muslims to reinforce their faith by getting them to pray and attend the mosque.
They have been likened to Jehovah’s Witnesses. The group however, has also been accused of radicalising young Muslims.
Neighbours say they have “no idea” how he had become a terror suspect. He is now understood to be in a hotel in Manchester.