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Iktimal Hage-Ali wins compensation over cocaine arrest

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    Iktimal Hage-Ali wins compensation over cocaine arrest

    *Muslim spokesperson awarded compo
    *Unlawfully held for suspected drug dealing
    *Says police were racially abusive


    FORMER New South Wales Young Australian of the Year, Iktimal Hage-Ali, has won a claim for damages after a judge found she was arrested and detained unlawfully by police on suspicion of supplying cocaine.

    The 26-year-old, who relinquished her title after her cocaine addiction was made public in 2007, was awarded just under $19,000 in the District Court, The Daily Telegraph reports.

    Hage-Ali - a former member of John Howard's Youth Advisory Committee - was arrested by officers from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad investigating drug-use in southwest Sydney after police recorded her ordering cocaine from her supplier Mohammed "Bruce'' Fahda.

    She was taken to Bankstown Police Station and held for several hours before being released without charge.

    During her time in custody, she claimed she was subjected to threats and racial vilification from the police in an attempt to coerce her into giving them information about her dealings with Fahda.

    Hage-Ali, who was working for the Attorney General's department at the time, agreed to turn police witness, however she insisted the drugs were for her own use, telling police: ``I'm just a f**king addict.''

    In evidence, she told the court she began using drugs heavily late in 2006 to cope with her feelings of depression.

    "My father and my brother weren't too happy about me speaking on Muslim issues. I've always spoken far too much,'' she said.

    She also told the court she felt down because her family didn't approve of the man she wanted to marry.

    Before she agreed to a police interview, Hage-Ali claims Detective Inspector Stephen Patton told her it was in her best interest to withdraw her nomination for the national Young Australian of the Year because she ``didn't deserve it.''

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