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UK police race row deepens with suspension of Iranian-born commander

London, Sept 19, IRNA - Commander Ali Dizaei has become the second top officer to be suspended in a deepening race row inside London's Metropolitan police.

The Iranian-born commander was suspended for the second time for allegedly wasting police time, perverting the course of justice, assault and unlawful arrest. Last time, he was unanimously cleared after an estimated Pnds 4 million (Dlrs 7.2 m) investigation.

His suspension comes after the force's assistant commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur, was suspended last week after launching a discrimination claim which Dizaei, who is the president of the National Black Police Association, has supported.

The two officers are the high-ranking Muslims in Britain's police and both are members of the Association of Chief Police Officers, which leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service in Britain.

The Professional Standards Sub-committee of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), which oversees the force, said on Thursday it was suspending Dizaei "after lengthy and careful deliberations.

"Suspension is not a disciplinary sanction and it is emphasised that suspension should not be taken as a presumption of guilt," the MPA said.

But Alfred John, chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, reacted to the news by accusing the authorities of a "witch hunt." It was "an attempt to destabilise our movement. It is a farce," he said.

Dizaei, whose father was a deputy commissioner of police in Tehran, was suspended in 2001, but was subsequently cleared of any charges at a trial two years later.

After his acquittal, he was reinstated, paid compensation and received an apology. He decided to stay with the Metropolitan police and was eventually promoted to the rank of commander last year at the fourth attempt.

... Payvand News - 09/19/08 ... --

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