Hasina Patel, widow of Sid Khan, has remained silent since her one and only interview with Julie Etchingham on Radio 4. That was in July 2007. Before that, in May 2007, when released from jail (at Paddington Green, where she was kept in solitary confinement – on no charge) she had called for an independent, public enquiry. Remarried and living in Sheffield, she now wears the veil. She has recently asked for legal aid so that she would be able to contribute to the forthcoming 7/7 Inquest.
It is hard to think of any other 7/7 witness whose testimony would be of greater interest – which is why the authorities are keen to put a stop to it. No-one in the years after July 2005 has ever questioned her integrity or honesty.
She has the eminent civil-rights lawyer Imran Khan who would act on her behalf. On August 27th, 2010 we heard that she had
lost her High Court bid to overturn a decision refusing her legal aid for this Inquest. Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Silber said the decision by the Lord Chancellor “cannot be described as unreasonable or irrational”.
Au contraire, I would describe it as entirely unreasonable.
A hearing held earlier this week had heard her lawyer argue that the decision to deny her legal aid was “unfair, irrational and unlawful”. Lord Justice Thomas said the court heard how Ms Patel “was interested to understand why her late husband and the other bombers acted as they did” and sought “an opportunity to ask questions of witnesses at the inquest which bore on their knowledge and experience of her husband and others”.
That can be decoded as meaning, she is by no means accepting the presumption of her late husband’s guilt, and would like to be able to question one or two witnesses in a court on this matter.
Clearly, that cannot be allowed. No way!
So, the judge said: “Far from providing any information that might assist the wider public interest, she has flatly and unequivocally declined the opportunity to do so”. And – get this – “Although requested by this court to show how she could help establish why her late husband and the others, whom she knew acted to murder fellow citizens, she has provided not an iota of evidence to us which could show how in some way she could bring a wider benefit, let alone a significant benefit to the inquests or to the understanding of the victims of the bombing.”
These words indicate that Ms Patel was not willing to proceed on a basis which presupposed her late husband’s guilt. Why should Hasina Patal ‘know’ that her husband ‘acted to murder fellow citizens?’ It is clear that she does not accept that. Whatever this is, it ain’t justice.
For example, in February 2011, the Inquest heard how the police had found at Lees Holm (their last home address) books with titles such as “Death,” ”The Final Bequest” and “Paradise: The Bliss and the Path To It”? (Feb 1 pm, 22:14-16). I would personally be interested to hear any comments Hasina Patel might have about allegations that such books were found in her home.
It was revealed in April that ministers had rejected two legal aid applications by relatives of the bombers, ruling they did not meet the criteria for public funding for their legal team.
Commented a lawyer from Anthony Gold solicitors: “This decision is a huge relief for the families. The thought of Ms Patel receiving public funding and the threat of her applying to take part in the inquests has added a new level of unnecessary stress.” O really? In that case, why do the victim families want an inquest? I went to a pre-inquest hearing at the Old Bailey in May and listened to a lawyer going on about how even the presence of a lawyer acting on behalf of the alleged bombers would be to distressing and stressful for his clients. Do they just want to wallow in egoistic emotions of grief – and this is five years after the event – or do they want to find out what happened?
Wedding of Sid Khan and Hasina Patel, 2001.