Police Force King’s Academics to Hand Over ‘Jihadi’ Video

Police have used powers under the Terrorism Act to seize videos stored in the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) based at King’s College London.

According to the Independent, Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) obtained a court order under the Terrorism Act after King’s refused to hand over the video stored by the ICSR.

Under Section 32 of the legislation this was deemed as a “terrorist investigation” which allowed the police far-reaching powers in its inquiry, forcing the College and ICSR to hand over the video.

ICSR is a think-tank within the War Studies Department with research focuses on ‘political violence and radicalisation’ and is known for its vast database of Western Jihadists.

These revelations came a day after The Independent revealed how the police used the Terrorism Act to seize the laptop of BBC Newsnight journalist Secunder Kermani who is known for interviewing Western Jihadis.

War Studies student Ikshita Singh said “Universities aren’t immune to the law, but King’s is not a risk to national security. It’s an overreaction to charge the College with the Terrorism Act and there must be other ways of getting this video that’s open-source.”

“As an academic our job is to look at things from a different perspective. Part of my studies involves conflict simulation, creating war games with artillery and infantry. It is imperative to think like the enemy and know both sides to the story.” shared Akshita Aggarwal, who is also a War Studies post-graduate.

Dr. Rebekka Friedman, a lecturer of International Peace and Security, said “As academics we do have more freedom to express our opinions critically on things than people with other jobs. But this incident really shows the flip-side of the coin that academic research, especially in policy and national security, has to deal with.”

In a public statement KCL said “Police requested the release of one video, self-published by fighters in Syria, which ICSR had captured from publicly available open source social media platforms. This request was denied by King’s, on the grounds it could have been obtained directly from the platform provider.”