Derby

Derbyshire businessman and charity worker: Terror questions 'ruin honeymoon'

Zabir Ahmed
Image caption Zabir Ahmed says "enough is enough" after claiming he has been stopped and questioned at various airports 20 times in two years

A man who believes police are "fixated on him" lost his honeymoon when he and his wife were removed from a plane and questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Zabir Ahmed, a Muslim who often flies for work and charitable causes, says he has been stopped 20 times in two years. He claims it is over the way he looks.

He and his wife Sairah were taken off an aircraft set to fly to Morocco.

Greater Manchester Police said Mr Ahmed was released without charge, but did not say why he was detained.

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The Derbyshire couple married seven months ago and were taking a "late honeymoon".

They had passed through Manchester Airport security on Friday before Mr Ahmed was questioned.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Ahmed and his wife Sairah were removed from the plane moments before it was due to take off from Manchester Airport

They missed their flight and were unable to take the holiday. Mr Ahmed said he lost up to £1,900.

Thomson Airways said: "At the request of the authorities, a customer was asked to leave the aircraft due to depart from Manchester to Marrakech."

Mr Ahmed said he has been made to feel like a "second-rate citizen" and an "extremist" and he initially refused to speak to police.

"I've never been in trouble - I don't understand why they have a fixation with me," he said.

Cumbria floods

Mr Ahmed said he was also stopped at Heathrow Airport three weeks ago, on the way back from a family pilgrimage to Mecca.

A month before that, he said he was questioned at Heathrow when he returned from Serbia, where he was with the Peterborough-based charity Unite 4 Humanity helping refugees.

Mr Ahmed said he was also stopped and questioned at East Midlands Airport after a family holiday in Turkey last year.

He has also been to Kenya and Pakistan for charitable reasons, he said.

Mr Ahmed, from Kirk Langley, said he went to Cumbria to help during the recent floods.

The property developer travels mainly to Poland, Germany and the Netherlands for business.

'Unfair and unreasonable'

He said he agreed to co-operate at Manchester Airport once he was arrested and formally interviewed under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.

He said: "If it was the first time I was being stopped, they could say I was being unfair and unreasonable."

Greater Manchester Police confirmed a 39-year-old man was removed from the 08:29 GMT flight.

"The man was questioned under the Counter Terrorism Act and was subsequently released," a spokesman said.

The Home Office said Schedule 7 allowed police to stop and question anyone travelling through ports, airports, international railway stations or the border area to determine if that person "is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

It said any complaints should be made to the local police force.

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