|Alma mater||University of Glasgow
University of Strathclyde
University of Liverpool
Aamer Anwar (born 1967) is a Scottish lawyer of Pakistani background. He is noted for his left-wing political views and his support for Stop the War Coalition and the campaigns against the 31st G8 summit and Dungavel Detention Centre for failed asylum seekers.
Born in England, Aamer Anwar moved to Scotland in 1986 to study mechanical engineering at the University of Glasgow for a future in the Royal Air Force. He became a student activist and led a campaign for black students at the city's Dental Hospital.
He left engineering to do sociology and politics. He was still a student when, in 1991, he was chased by police officers, after being caught flyposting on Ashton Lane, and beaten up, losing his front teeth being hospitalised. Later, he made legal history by taking the officers responsible to court and receiving £4,500 damages from Strathclyde Police for the assault in which they are alleged to have made the racist comment "this is what happens to black boys with big mouths".
He graduated with an MA in Social Sciences in 2004, and from the University of Liverpool in 1996 with a postgraduate diploma in race law,[clarification needed] and an LLB from the University of Strathclyde in 1999 and a Diploma in Legal Practice in 2000. In 2008 he was number 9 in the independent law magazine The Firm's Power 100.
He was the Scottish organizer for the Anti-Nazi League and led a march in 1993 to the London headquarters of the British National Party. He also worked for the Commission for Racial Equality, before deciding, in 1997, to go to law school as a mature student.
Anwar became a solicitor in 2000 and became part of a Glasgow-based partnership, before branching out on his own in 2006 and setting up Aamer Anwar & Co, Solicitors & Notaries. Several nominations for Criminal Lawyer of the Year by The Law Awards of Scotland have resulted in Anwar winning in both 2005 and 2006.
He has often represented clients in high profile controversial criminal cases with political or human rights implications. He is best known for his campaigns for justice after the killing of Glasgow schoolboy Imran Khan. Anwar also campaigned on behalf of the family of murdered Indian waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar, which led to a radical overhaul of the criminal justice system and several inquiries. In the latter case, Anwar led the justice campaign on behalf of the Chhokar family. He also served on the Justice Minister's Stephen Lawrence Steering Group.
In 2004 he was the solicitor in the notorious Ice Cream Wars appeal, which saw his client 'TC' Campbell cleared after 20 years
He is noted for his controversial remarks in the aftermath of the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack, in which he claimed that 'That there is no difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber, the effects are still the same', and also that notions of multiculturalism had failed in Scotland as elsewhere in the UK due to widespread rejection of elements of British popular culture, specifically "binge drinking and Big Brother", amongst young people within the Muslim community.
In 2008 he faced allegations of contempt of court in the light of a complaint by the presiding judge in the case, Lord Carloway, because of his disparaging remarks about the jury after the trial and conviction of Mohammed Siddique in the High Court of Justiciary. He was found not guilty of contempt, but Lord Osborne said the statements from the lawyer "embody angry and petulant criticism of the outcome of the trial process and a range of political comments concerning the position of Muslims in our society".
He was the first lawyer in the UK to be put on trial for contempt of court for comments he made on behalf of his client at the end of a trial. In July 2008 he was acquitted, having a legal team led by Paul McBride QC, as well as legal submissions in his support from Michael Mansfield QC, Helena Kennedy QC. He was supported by the trade unions and civil liberty organizations, including Liberty, who also backed his case in the High Court. There was widespread condemnation of what was perceived to be an attack on free speech and the rights of a campaigning lawyer.
He also was cleared of doing anything wrong by the Law Society. He was ultimately vindicated following the successful appeal of Mohammed Atif Siddique in February 2010, which led to his release and the quashing of his conviction under Section 58 - Collection of information of the Terrorism Act, which was described as a miscarriage of justice by the appeal court.
On 31 January 2011 a complaint was made by Anwar, following confirmation from Vodafone that there had been attempts to access his voicemail prior to the start of the Sheridan trial. In July 2011 Anwar presented a dossier along with Tom Watson MP to Strathclyde Police into alleged criminality at the News of the World, allegations of phone hacking, data breaches and corruption in the Police. This led to full scale police inquiry by Strathclyde Police termed Operation Rubicon.
In April 2013, it was announced that Anwar would represent National Collective in possible legal action put forward by the representatives of oil company Vitol. Vitol's representatives threatened legal action against National Collective, a political organisation supporting Scottish independence, for being "grossly defamatory" after linking Ian Taylor, their CEO and a major Better Together donor, to questionable deals in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Serbia. The organisation stated that they "will not be bullied or silenced" and that their website is "offline only as a temporary measure for a few days".
- "Terror debate raises stark views". BBC News. 2007-07-09.
- "Rectorial Election result".
- http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/home-news/sheridan-solicitor-newspaper-hacked-my-phone-messages-1.1082613 The Herald 31 January 2011
- http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/more-than-120-police-investigate-murdoch-empires-operations-2344108.html Independent report
- "Yes Scotland: EuroMillions winners help bankroll independence campaign". 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "National Collective". Facebook. Retrieved 10 April 2013.