Jail protest over terror raid 12

Supporters of 12 men arrested in anti-terror raids in the North West last month are demonstrating outside the jail where they are being held.

At a meeting before the protest at Manchester Prison, campaigners called for an end to what they said was the criminalisation of Muslims.

The 12 men were later released without charge - but the Home Office wants to deport 11 to Pakistan.

Greater Manchester's chief constable has defended the arrests, on 8 April.

The protest outside the prison started at 1800 BST.

Student visas

Of the 12 men arrested in the raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe in Lancashire, 11 were Pakistani nationals, with 10 holding student visas. One was from Great Britain.

Tariq Mehmood, one of the organisers of the demonstration, said: "We need to get them out of jail, have their visas returned, they should not be in jail.

"What sort of society do you want to be in that jails people without evidence? This issue is not just for Muslims, it affects all people."

Police faced criticism after prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to justify bringing any charges against the men.

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC is looking at the case as part of his ongoing role as independent reviewer of terrorism laws.

'Public safety'

Chief Constable Peter Fahy has said he was not "embarrassed" that the arrests took place.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "We are seeking to remove these individuals on grounds of national security.

"The government's highest priority is to protect public safety. Where a foreign national poses a threat to this country we will seek to exclude or to deport, where this is appropriate.

"We do not comment on individual cases."

The meeting took place at the Pakistani Community Centre on Stockport Road, Longsight on Saturday afternoon with another planned to take place on Tuesday at the Saffron Restaurant in Cheetham Hill.