How Lawyers Can Support the BLM Movement
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About the Event
Confronting Racism : how can lawyers support the BLM movement?
Since a white police officer killed George Floyd in the United States, protests have swept the world. In the UK, protestors took to the streets in London, Manchester, Bristol and many other cities. It has reignited a conversation about police brutality, equality and the legacy of Britain’s slave trading past.
The law has played a role in propping up racist practices for centuries. Legalising slavery, offering compensation to slave owners, ‘sus’ laws, disproportionate use of stop and search and joint enterprise are some of the many symptoms of the law’s role in perpetuating discrimination. How can lawyers and activists work together to break this cycle? How can lawyers help protestors and activists in their fight for justice and equality?
Hauwa Shehu (Barrister)
Hauwa is a Criminal Barrister with experience in the Criminal Justice Sector, both domestically in the UK and internationally. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2013 and joined the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2014 and a has a breadth of experience prosecuting a range of criminal offences including serious violent and sexual assaults, domestic abuse, hate crime, youth casesand organised crime. She has extensive experience ofworking with vulnerable victims and witnesses and dealing with cases in the Magistrates, Crown and High Courts.
Hauwa was previously based in the International Justice and Organised Crime Division. Having prosecuted international extradition cases on behalf of foreign judicial authorities, both at Westminster Magistrates Court and in the High Court, she was later seconded to the Policy Team within that division. As well as being the subject matter expert on Extradition, her role involved her supporting the wider CPS and Her Majesty’s Government with Brexit contingency planning, with regard to International Extradition and the European Arrest Warrant.
As part of her commitment to International Justice and the fight against racial inequality, Hauwa recently spent a year working in the USA with an anti – death penalty charity, supporting Capital Defence Lawyers working on Capital cases in the States of Florida and Texas. In January of this year Hauwa returned to CPS London as a District Crown Prosecutor, managing a team of Prosecutors. She looks after stakeholder engagement and deals with particularly sensitive cases and those of high media interest, as well as victim complaints.
Hauwa has previously served on the Executive Committee of the CPS’s BAME Staff Network, the ‘National Black Crown Prosecution Association’, as Deputy Secretary and Mentoring Co-ordinator. She is the current Chair of the CPS Muslim Network and supported the Network’s re-launch in October 2018. In this role Hauwa assists the CPS in community engagement, policy consultation, support of Muslim employees and in achieving its equality and diversity objectives.
Mustafa Briggs (Activist)
Mustafa Briggs is a Graduate of Arabic & International Relations from the University of Westminster whose dissertation focused on Arabic Literature and Literacy in West Africa. Started an MA in Translation at SOAS with a specialisation in Arabic and Islamic Texts, before going onto al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt where he is currently doing another degree in Islamic Studies & Arabic. Rose to international acclaim for his ‘Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam’ lecture series which saw him explore & uncover the deep rooted relationship between Islam and Black History, which he has delivered at over 40 universities worldwide including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale.
Momodou Taal (Activist)
Momodou Taal is a law graduate from the United Kingdom who, after attaining his LLB from the University of East Anglia whilst traveling to Morocco, Egypt and Mauritania in the summers to benefit from scholars and studying intensively in his spare time in the UK, began studying Islamic jurisprudence and other preliminary Islamic sciences full time at the prestigious Al-Azhar in Egypt.
Momodou studied Sharia at Al-Azhar mosque, as well as attending and being among the founding members of the Markaz Imam Malik in Cairo, which hosts a programme focused on Maliki Fiqh, Qur’anic Memoritastion, Hadith Sciences, Logic, Arabic Grammar, Morphology, Syntax and Classical Literature under the tutelage of the astute Algerian Scholar Shaykh Zuhayr Qazzan.
Momodou has a particular focus in tackling contemporary issues that relate to young people in the modern world, and has founded the Muslim Millennials and Kultural Renaissance initiatives which aims to be the main creative platform raises the level of discussion amongst young people through top quality media, documentaries, and annual forums and conferences.
Omran Belhadi (Barrister)
Omran represents defendants at the Crown Court, Magistrates’ Court and Youth Court. He has appeared in a wide range of cases, including assaults of varying severity, drug possession and supply, causing wasteful employment of police time, public order offences, minor sexual offences and Environmental Protection Act prosecutions. Omran has also acted as court-appointed counsel in cases where defendants are prohibited from cross-examining witnesses and do not have legal representation.
Omran is regularly instructed to represent claimants and defendants in the County Court in road traffic matters. He has acted for claimants in numerous MOJ Stage 3 hearings and for defendants in Small Claims trials. Solicitors also instruct Omran to provide advice on quantum and liability in road traffic accident claims. Omran also appears and provides advice in matters before the First Tier Tribunal, including appeals from decisions of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office. As a pupil, Omran assisted senior members of chambers in submissions to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
Prior to joining Nexus Chambers, Omran worked at international human rights charity Reprieve on cases involving human rights abuses in counter-terrorism operations, including the cases of Belhaj and Another v Jack Straw and Others  UKSC 33 and Yunus Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence  UKSC 1. Omran worked on cases challenging the UK government’s involvement in torture and drone strikes. While at Reprieve, Omran has worked on complex tort claims and judicial reviews as well as claims to the International Criminal Court. Between 2012 and 2013, Omran worked with Justice Project Pakistan in Lahore, Pakistan on litigation seeking to repatriate Pakistani citizens held by the US military in Afghanistan. He advocated for their release before US military boards and government officials from the US, Pakistani and Afghan governments.