Monday, 25 March 2013

Galloway comments on Mail on Sunday story

The Bradford West MP George Galloway today described a news story in the Mail on Sunday as, "being almost totally bereft of truth, potentially actionable and clearly motivated by malice against me. I am writing to the Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe today to ask, among other matters, what guidance his force gave the newspaper and whether the publication of the story potentially compromises a live investigation." 

Galloway pointed out that his parliamentary computer had not been "seized" as the newspaper alleged and, indeed, he had insisted that it was handed in to the Met police, investigating what he described as a 'dirty tricks' operation against him orchestrated by a member of his staff, Aisha Ali Khan, and a senior detective in the Met's anti-terrorism branch SO15, Afiz Khan. Both Khans have been arrested and are presently on bail on suspicion of data protection offenses and also, in his case, of abusing his position as a police officer. 
"I have started an action for defamation against Aisha Ali Khan, who is clearly the source of this fallacious and mendacious story, and I am consulting with my lawyers over a similar action against the Mail on Sundayand Associated Newspapers," the MP added. 

Background In October last year, following inaccurate newspaper stories aimed at discrediting him, George Galloway discovered that Aisha Ali Khan and the man she claimed to be her husband, Detective Inspector Afiz Kahn (head of the Muslim Contact Unit at SO15), were involved in a 'dirty tricks' conspiracy against him and the Respect party in Bradford. Ms Khan was suspended and, after, an inquiry, sacked for gross misconduct on December 10. 

On October 15 the MP asked the Metropolitan police to investigate and, shortly after, Operation Bethany was launched. It is still ongoing. Upon the urging of the MP the investigating officers took charge of a parliamentary laptop in Ms Khan's possession. It is understood that she also handed in a mobile phone. At some subsequent date it is believed she then alleged that one or both had been 'hacked'. It is not known who, if anyone, she alleges was responsible. This allegation was covered in the media at the time. 

On December 5, 2012, Aisha Ali Khan and Afiz Khan were arrested by Operation Bethany officers. They are currently on bail. 

One of the few facts in the Mail on Sunday story is that George Galloway totally denies any knowledge of any hacking, as does his lawyer Alias Yousaf as well as members of George Galloway's staff, who have been interviewed by Operation Bethany officers.