CAGE recently published a statement concerning "Jihadi John" (Mohammed Emwazi) who, CAGE claims, was "harassed" by MI5 and this may have contributed to the radicalisation of the Kuwaiti-born computer graduate who grew up in west London - see BBC 27th February - CAGE: Important human rights group or apologists for terror? This individual is said to have wielded the knife in the murders by beheading of a considerable number of people such as the American journalist James Foley - (Wikipedia Jihadi John).
The CAGE comments about Emwazi have been condemned by several politicians, including the Prime Minister and Boris Johnson (Telegraph 1st March 2015).
Although Downing Street will not comment specifically on the identity of Jihadi John, Mr Cameron’s official spokeswoman attacked the comments by Cage in the strongest possible terms. She said: “It is completely reprehensible to suggest that anyone who carries out such brutal murders – they are the ones responsible and we should not be seeking to put blame on other people, particularly those who are working to keep British citizens safe. The people responsible for these murders are the people we are seeing in the videos.”
Update - Emwazi was reportedly killed by drone attack - see Post 14th November 2015
What is CAGE?
Its website states that it is - "an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror. The organisation highlights and campaigns against state policies, striving for a world free from oppression and injustice." Needless to say, CAGE has frequently been very critical of many aspects of governmental policy in relation to the "War on Terror" etc. CAGE is not itself a charity but it has received some funds from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation. Charity Commission inquiries are taking place into the compliance of those charities with their charitable objectives - (see also BBC). The Rowntree Trust has responded with this statement. Note added 5th May 2018 - A judicial review against the Charity Commission ended in a settlement in October 2015 - The Guardian 21st October 2015
CAGE bank accounts:
In 2014, CAGE bank accounts were frozen by, it appears, the banks with whom CAGE had accounts. The precise reasons for this are not particularly clear though it is said that it was due to the connection between CAGE and Moazzam Begg - Third Sector 7th October 2014 Begg was released after terrorism charges against him were withdrawn - BBC 1st October 2014. Furthermore, financial restrictions on Begg were lifted by HM Treasury - The Guardian 14th October 2014. In relation to terrorism and banking see the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010.
Charities and how they apply their funds:
Charities are those bodies meeting the requirements of the Charities Act 2011. A charity must have charitable purposes (see the Acts sections 2 and 3) and it must also meet the public benefit requirement (see section 4). The powers of the Charity Commission have been enhanced considerably by recent legislation and the Commission must remove from the register any charity which it no longer considers is a charity- section 34. Appeal lies to the Charity Tribunal (now in the General Regulatory Chamber).
The Charity Commission website states that - "Charity trustees must use their charity's funds and assets only in furtherance of the charity's purposes. They must ensure that funds are properly protected so that, for example, they are not used for illegal or improper purposes, including for terrorist and other criminal purposes. In practice, a significant aspect of a trustee's legal duty to protect charitable assets with the necessary care means ensuring that where a charity gives money to partners or beneficiaries, or uses partner and delivery agents, or where it funds other projects, charity trustees must properly and appropriately monitor the use of the charity's funds, checking both that funds reach their destination and that they are used for the purposes intended." (Charity Commission - Due diligence monitoring and end use of funds).
Quintin Kynaston Academy - Emwazi's School:
The school which Emwazi attended is the subject of an inquiry ordered by the Secretary of State for Education - Telegraph 28th February 2015. The fact that Emwazi attended the school, as well as two other Islamist fighters, has raised questions over what measures had been in place to tackle the radicalisation of Muslim teenagers. A third Islamist fighter was taught at the same north London academy. Choukri Ellekhlifi, a contemporary of Jihadi John at Quintin Kynaston academy, was killed fighting with terrorists in Syria in 2013. The disclosure comes after The Telegraph reported that another former pupil at the St John’s Wood school, Mohammed Sakr, had died fighting for al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda in Somalia.
In July 2014 the Education Select Committee looked at Radicalisation in Schools
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 Part 5 is headed - Risk of being drawn into terrorism. This Act imposes on "specified authorities" (see Schedule 6) a duty to "have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism." This is referred to as the "Prevent Duty" - see The Guardian article "Counter-terrorism duties: What schools need to know"
Speakers at Universities:
The Guardian reports a political row over limiting free speech on university campuses. This row has erupted in the wake of the evidence that Emwazi may have been radicalised at Westminster University in London where he studied computer science.
Westminster University has published guidance for external speakers. In early February, the government sought to assure universities that the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (now an Act) would not endanger freedom of expression. In relation to Universities, Section 31 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 Part 5 is of particular relevance.
Control Orders v TPiM:
The coalition government's decision to replace Control Orders with TPiMs has come under renewed scrutiny - BBC 2nd March 2015. The Shadow Home Secretary (Yvette Cooper) said that the relocation powers contained in control orders should not have been ended. The Home Secretary (Theresa May) defended the present position. The debate may be read HERE.
See the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011
It is reported that CAGE is seeking judicial review of the Charity Commission - see The Guardian 4th June 2015.
Note added 5th May 2018 - The judicial review against the Charity Commission ended in a settlement in October 2015 - The Guardian 21st October 2015