A judge in Manchester has ruled that police cannot seize the £200,000 home of convicted terrorist Munir Farooqi as a criminal asset, according to BBC News. Police had wanted to take possession of the house and sell it in order to pay Farooqi’s court costs, but the judge ruled that this would harm Farooqi’s family, who still live there.
Farooqi is currently serving four life sentences for trying to recruit and radicalise two undercover policemen to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan. He had used his family home for meetings to radicalise his recruits.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, courts can order convicted terrorists to surrender any assets that have been “used for the purposes of terrorism”. Normally, this would mean having to hand over computers, phones and vehicles. As Farooqi had used his home as a place of radicalisation, however, police tried to use the Act to take possession of that too.
Had Greater Manchester Police’s application been successful, it would have been the first time the Terrorism Act had been used to seize a family home.
The judge ruled, however, that as three generations of Farooqi’s family still live in the house, seizing it would harm them and breach their right to family life. He said that although he was satisfied that Farooqi had control of the house at the time of the terrorism offences, his family did not know of his activities.
The judge did rule, however, that Farooqi must still pay £500,000 of court costs for the legal proceedings against him.
Detective Superintendent Julian Richardson of Greater Manchester Police accepted the ruling, saying: “The ruling demonstrates a proportionate response to the evidence placed before the court.
“The £500,000 costs order should draw to a conclusion this protracted and complex investigation into the most serious offences.”