UK

#JusticeForTarik Trends On Twitter As Hundreds Voice Outrage Over Arrest Of 'Surgeon' Terror Suspect

09/10/2014 16:44 BST | Updated 09/10/2014 17:59 BST

As anti-terror police continue to question four men suspected of plotting a potentially "significant" attack on the UK, #JusticeForTarik has been trending on Twitter with thousands voicing their outrage at the treatment of one of those arrested.

The men, aged 20 to 21, were taken away by police in raids on Tuesday on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

After the men were taken away hundreds took to Twitter to complain, with one user saying "We cried and complained and stood up for Alan Henning because he was an innocent human, should we not do the same for Tarik."

Police said at least one of the suspects is believed to have travelled to Syria and one line of inquiry is to establish any possible links with Islamic State (IS), the extremist group behind the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Counter-terror officers believe the raids were an "early disruption" of what could have turned into a "significant plot".

Among the suspected extremists being questioned is medical student Tarik Hassane who lives near Ladbroke Grove in west London.

The 21-year-old had tweeted "Oi lads… I smell a war" just hours before being arrested.

But friends and neighbours said he was innocent and defended the tweet, claiming it was just banter.

Now, #JusticeForTarik is trending on Twitter as thousands react to the news of his arrest, branding it racial profiling.

Hassane is thought to have enrolled last year on a course at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Khartoum.

According to reports he is believed to have travelled to Syria from there and returned to the UK on Sunday for the Muslim holiday of Eid.

The front door of the property where he and his family live on the Princess Alice housing estate showed signs of forced entry and has been boarded up.

Neighbours said that during the raid they heard several loud bangs, thought to have been stun grenades, as dozens of officers stormed the estate.

One neighbour, who did not want to give her name for fear of reprisals, said she heard that "police took the floor up" in the property.

"He was a really nice guy who loved his football," she said. "He used to be a bit of a Jack the lad, but then he kept going to Morocco and around two years ago he started covering his tracksuit with a white dress, and then the Jesus creepers came in and he grew a beard. He started behaving shy with people he knew all his life. Everybody noticed it."

A number of addresses and vehicles have been searched by specialist officers in west and central London as part of the investigation. Those searches were expected to finish overnight.

Magistrates have granted a custody extension until next Tuesday, October 14, for officers to quiz the four men, arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Under terrorism laws, police could hold the men for 48 hours before they had to apply to a magistrate to detain them for longer, and the legislation allows for terror suspects to be held without charge for up to 14 days.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "It is one of a series of arrests that we have had over the last few weeks which, taken together, for me confirm that the drumbeat around terrorism has changed.

"It's a more intense drumbeat - we are having to be more interventionist and a lot of it is linked back to Syria and Iraq."