'My son was victim of terror laws'

JACQUES Abi-Ayad's mother today claimed her son was a "victim" of the fear surrounding terrorism.Speaking after the 40-year-old was cleared of a terrorism charge, she described English law as "unusual" and spoke of her family's ordeal since his arrest.

JACQUES Abi-Ayad's mother today claimed her son was a "victim" of the fear surrounding terrorism.

Speaking after the 40-year-old was cleared of a terrorism charge, she described English law as "unusual" and spoke of her family's ordeal since his arrest.

She said: "It's been a nightmare eight months because I know the context of the anti-terrorist fight.

"The Terrorism Act is an unusual law and that made us worried, even though we were sure of the innocence of my son. When you have this unusual law there can be mistakes and it can lead to a difficult situation.


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"I must say he has been the victim of the anti-terrorist legislation. The fact he was in an illegal situation did not make it easier."

Her comments come in the wake of criticism of terrorism laws in some quarters.

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Human rights group Liberty has accused the government of "playing on people's legitimate fears of terrorism and crime to bring in more draconian law and order measures".

Abi-Ayad's mother, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm very moved at the verdict and I much appreciate the work of the lawyer for the defence team. I trusted the English justice because I knew my son was innocent. I knew he should get out of that."

She sat in the public gallery throughout the six-day trial with Abi-Ayad's wife, who is the mother of his 11-year-old daughter.

Abi-Ayad's solicitor Dino Barricella, of Ipswich-based Saunders, Goodin, Riddleston Solicitors, said his client felt justified.

"We're delighted with the result," he said. "It's been eight months of hard work and the right decision has been made.

"I've spoken to Jacques and he's delighted with the result. He obviously feels vindicated.

"From day one he has always denied his guilt. He has always been adamant."

Fernando Nobre, manager of One Call Recruitment Ltd, of Norwich Road, Ipswich, confirmed Abi-Ayad worked for his company for a short time.

He worked for a packaging factory in the Ipswich area. It is believed he also worked for other agencies in the town.

Meanwhile, neighbours of the London Road property raided as part of the trial revealed police officers had reassured them about the nature of Abi-Ayad's arrest. Inside they found notes from the Anarchists Cookbook, which had been downloaded from the internet.

A London Road resident, who did not want to be named, said: "There were lots of police here searching the house and I phoned Suffolk police to ask them what was happening.

"Soon after a police officer came round to explain what had happened. It was very reassuring."

The resident added the house has been empty since Abi-Ayad's arrest and is currently being refurbished. One of the other occupants, a friend of Abi-Ayad, is known to be now living in Plymouth.

Paul de Boos, 53, of London Road, said he was shocked when he heard of the arrest and the seizure of documents from the house.

He said: "It's a bit unnerving and it does bring the stuff you see on the news closer to home.

"Police officers did come round and talk to people, although no one spoke to me. I think there was some attempt to reassure people there wasn't any weapons in there or anything like that."

Gippeswyk Road neighbours of Abi-Ayad described him as "very quiet" and someone who "kept himself to himself".

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