On Sunday May 14, Middle East Eye reported that Muhammad Rabbani, the director of human rights group CAGE that focuses on terrorism cases, was arrested after refusing to give up his phone and computer passwords while crossing the UK border in 2016.
Now, the Metropolitan Police has formally charged Rabbani for obstructing an examination under a controversial piece of terrorism legislation. Experts say this may be the first arrest made for refusing to disclose a password under that specific section, and that the legislation grants police officers sweeping powers to search individuals and their devices without the approval of a judge.
“On 20 November 2016, at Heathrow Airport, he did [ sic] wilfully obstructed, or sought to frustrate, an examination or search under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, contrary to paragraph 18(1)(c) of that schedule,” the Metropolitan Police Service’s brief announcement, published on Wednesday, reads.
On its website, CAGE describes itself as “an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror. The organisation highlights campaign against state policies, striving for a world free from oppression and injustice.”