Human rights activist detained at Gatwick under the Terrorism Act

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A leading Yemeni human rights activist has been detained at Gatwick and questioned on his work and political views by UK officials under the Terrorism Act.

Baraa Shiban, a member of Yemen’s National Dialogue – the body tasked with mapping out the country’s democratic future – had been invited to speak at a seminar at international think-tank Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institution of International Affairs.

He was detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act – recently used in the detention of David Miranda – yesterday, and questioned about his views on human rights abuses in Yemen.

Shibaan also works for legal charity Reprieve as project coordinator in Yemen, and visited the UK without being detained earlier this summer.

Reprieve works to support the relatives of civilian victims of drone strikes who are seeking legal redress.

The organisation recently found evidence showing that the UK supports the US’ programme of covert drone strikes through the provision of communications infrastructure and intelligence.

Cori Crider, strategic director at Reprieve, said: “This is part of a worsening campaign of intimidation of human rights workers going on at the UK border – especially if they are critical of the so-called ‘war on terror’.

"If there were any doubt the UK were abusing its counter-terrorism powers to silence critics, this ends it.”

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