The University told Newsnight on Monday (06.06.11) that they behaved “ethically, fairly and with transparency” [here]. This is not what the documents show. Take for instance the internal investigation by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) into the handling of the arrests [here] triggered by a complaint from Dr. Thornton. The Registrar is interviewed and asked about his role in calling the police – almost all of the entire interview is redacted [here]. Incidentally the CFO also sits on the Board of Management with the Registrar. The University is currently under investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office for alleged failures to disclose information and unwarranted redactions. The gaps in Freedom of Information releases are glaring. Many of the Vice Chancellor’s letters to the Home Office are nowhere to be found. Emails to and from the Professor who declared the library materials illegal were never disclosed [see p.45 of Dr. Thornton’s paper]. Legal advice obtained by the University with regards to the arrests is also being withheld [here]. When Sabir attempted to follow up on such information gaps he was labelled ‘obsessive’ by the University Governance Team; they declared that these were “matters that the University considers closed” [here]. Three years after the arrests, Sabir is still being stopped by the police using anti-terror powers under the anti-terror legislation [3 examples here] and there has been no independent investigation into the affair.  More worrying is how Dr. Thornton obtained his own private email messages under the Freedom of Information Act. In one example, Dr. Thornton sent an email to Special Branch in London, but this email was later released to him when he made an FoI request [here]; it was held in the Registrar’s Office. Either it was sent to the university by Special Branch OR Dr. Thornton’s email communications were being intercepted and monitored by the university. The University say they behaved “ethically, fairly and with transparency”. We at S.W.A.N. beg to differ.

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