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Heathrow Airport passenger fined for refusing to hand over computer and mobile phone passwords during terror probe

Police are still trying to examine the contents of Muhammad Rabbani's devices after he refused to hand over the passwords

A man who refused to give his computer or mobile phone passwords to police quizzing him under the Terrorism Act at Heathrow Airport has been fined £620.

Muhammad Rabbani was stopped by Met Police Counter Terrorism Command officers at the airport on November 20 last year, but did not give officers the passwords needed for his devices to be examined.

The 36-year-old, from east London, was convicted of wilfully obstructing an examination at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday (September 25).

Police are yet to access his devices.

Rabbani had been stopped at 7.30am by officers using Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which is used by the police to stop and question a person in order to determine whether they are concerned in terrorism.

As part of their enquiries, detectives seized his mobile phone and laptop to examine it, but Rabbani repeatedly refused to provide passwords for the officers.

He claimed to have confidential material on his phone from his work as director for a non-government organisation, and argued incorrectly that this gave him the privilege of not sharing information with police.

Rabbani was subsequently charged on May 17 this year, and received a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £620 fine.

Heathrow passenger Muhammad Rabbani has been fined more than £600(Image: PA)

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Today’s verdict is an important one.

“It’s crucial that police are able to use the legislation that exists to help keep the public safe.

“Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a vital tool in the fight against terrorism and we are committed to ensuring the power is used appropriately and proportionately, as it was in this case.

“The Met has retained Rabbani’s phone and laptop and is continuing its efforts to examine the contents.”

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