This website was set up to publicise the campaign to prevent the deportation of Hicham Yezza (Hich to his many friends).
Hicham has lived in Nottingham for 13 years while he studied for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and worked at the university, where he has built up a large network of close friends. The huge campaign to prevent his deportation is a testament to this. He served as a member of the University Senate for two terms (2004-5) and on the Student’s Union Executive Committee, was President of the Arabic Society, was the editor of the influential Voice magazine for international students, and is the long-time editor of Ceasefire magazine, a political journal. He was a prominent member of the artistic group ‘Al-Zaytouna’, and weeks before his arrest performed the leading role in a feature play at Nottingham Arts Theatre. Numerous references have been collected from reputable professors and prominent members of the local and national community that testify to his integrity and strong roots in the city. He lives and works in Nottingham and has shown every intention of fighting his case, as he thinks he has excellent grounds to remain in the U.K.
His deportation follows his arrest under the Terrrorism Act 2000. This occurred after Rizawaan Sabir, a student acquaintance who was studying political Islam emailed a copy of an Al Qaeda training manual he was using for his research to Hich as Rizwaan couldn’t afford to print it. After the document was seen, the police were called. They arrested Hich and Rizwaan, searched their homes, seized their computers and interrogated friends and family. Both were released without charge and the university has subsequently been forced to admit that the documents were legitimate research material.
Despite his innocence, Hich was immediately re-arrested under immigration legislation on charges which he sought legal advice and representation over. However on Friday May 23 his solicitor was told that Hich was being deported and he was moved to a detention centre. It is clear from Hicham’s legal documentation that there could be no reason to disallow him bail and push for his removal before his set trial date, except that the immigration services are determined to remove him without allowing him due process.
The circumstances of Hich’s initial arrest sparked widespread protest from students and academics, and extensive critical media coverage. Many people have drawn a link between this and the authorities’ hurried attempts to remove him from the country. Regardless of whether this is a politically motivated action or not, it is clear that he has not been given the chance to argue his case in court, which he his perfectly happy to do.