Why is the Campaign called ‘The Birmingham Four’?

Naweed Ali and Khobaib Hussain are represented by Gareth Peirce, best known for her work in cases of human rights abuses and miscarriages of justice. In over 30 years as a lawyer she has, amongst many others, represented the Guildford 4 and Birmingham 6.

This case has disturbing echoes of the case of the six innocent Irishmen, who came to be known as the Birmingham 6, wrongly convicted of the bombing of two Birmingham pubs in 1974.

The wrongful convictions of those six Irishmen in Birmingham began to unravel as part of a domino effect; the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, many of whose officers had been involved in the fabrication of the prosecution evidence against the six men, had engaged in similar conduct in numerous other cases. As the cases began to mount up with the same officers identified again and again as having created false evidence in their notebooks and having suppressed evidence; the vast pool of damning evidence was overwhelming and impossible to ignore. Had those officers enjoyed anonymity and a change of protected identity for each new operation (as the undercover officers did in this case) their misconduct would not have come to light and the the six men would still be in prison today.

This campaign is called the “Birmingham Four” because it echoes so strongly the events and injustice of the case of the Birmingham Six. The six men waited sixteen years for justice. We hope that Naweed and the others do not have to wait that long. All ten of these men were the victims of difficult and challenging times exploited by corrupt police officers.

Who is responsible for planting the bag?

We might never know who exactly was involved in framing the men. We are certain that the prosecution’s key witness, undercover officer “Vincent”, is at the heart of the “fit up”. He was part of the “Special Projects Team” (SPT); an undercover unit of the West Midlands police. As an undercover officer he enjoys anonymity making it impossible for the defence to properly investigate him, his activities and his evidence.

After the four men were arrested and charged the West Midlands Police (Counter Terrorism Unit and Special Projects Team) and the British Security Services (MI5) came together to play their part and showed a determined united front, and in doing so many of their officers became part of the cover up.

Why would “Vincent” plant the bag and others become involved in the cover up?

Funding – the men were victims of the battle for resources between competing law enforcement agencies. This is supported by text messages recovered from police phones seized during the trial (as the result of defence pressure/enquiries). This included messages between undercover officers celebrating their team’s role in the arrests, for example, a message sent from an officer of the SPT to a senior officer saying, “Result today boss – your passion ensures that we remain in the mix. SPT at the forefront again. Quality result for our unit (again).”

Easy targets – All four men were known to the police and three of the four had previous convictions for terrorism.

Refusal to work with MI5 – Naweed and Mohibur were contacted by MI5 a number of times over a period of months. Both met with MI5 officers and on occasion received payment for meeting with them. Both were asked to work for them. Both refused to do so.

How do the four men know each other?

Naweed and Khobaib have lived next door to each other in Birmingham all their lives.   

 Naweed, Khobaib and Mohibur met and became friends in prison.

 Mohibur and Tahir were friends. Both live in Stoke. Tahir was introduced to Naweed and Khobaib by Mohibur. He only met Naweed and Khobaib on one occasion shortly before their arrest.

What terrorism offences were Naweed, Khobaib and Mohibur previously convicted of?

Naweed and Khobaib pleaded guilty in 2012 of having travelled to Pakistan with the idea of attending a training camp. They were young, they had been encouraged to do so, and within two days of arrival in Pakistan they had spoken to their families and promptly come back home. They have been prosecuted, admitted their guilt, and served time in prison as punishment.

Mohibur Rahman also spent time in prison accused of possession of a publication with terrorist content.

How did Khobaib get a job with Hero Couriers?

Khobaib was applying for jobs online including courier roles. He was called by a man (undercover officer “Vincent”) who told him that he had set up a new company and was looking for drivers. Khobaib was interviewed for the role and was successful.

 After his release from prison Khobaib had struggled to find work. His conviction made it almost impossible for him to find employment. He was very happy when he got the job at Hero Couriers. He was committed to the job and saw it as a long term opportunity. “Vincent” described him as a “model employee” in his evidence during the trial.

 Khobaib encouraged Naweed to apply for a job at Hero Couriers too. He was reluctant to do so because he already had a job in a cash and carry. He eventually contacted Vincent about a job but failed to attend the interview. He contacted Vincent again because his father developed serious kidney problems and had to attend hospital every week for dialysis and he was under family pressure to secure flexible working hours in order to care for his father.

 Khobaib worked for Hero Couriers for one month before his arrest. Naweed was arrested on his first day on the job.  

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