Deal over terror suspects delayed

Deal over terror suspects delayed

By Robert Verkaik, Belfast Telegraph, 02 September 2005

Ministers are weeks away from reaching agreement with the Algerian government over the deportation of foreign terrorist suspects, Home Office lawyers said.

The delay emerged during a bail hearing at which it was claimed two of the jailed men were « dangerously » ill.

The nine, with the Jordanian-born cleric Abu Qatada, were returned to jail on 11 August as part of a clampdown in the wake of the London bombings. The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said they represented a threat to national security.

Counsel for the Secretary of State, Ian Burnett QC, said while an agreement had been reached with Jordan, a similar deal with Algeria was « weeks away and maybe longer ». He told Mr Justice Ouseley, presiding at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission: « So far as Algeria is concerned we are not in a position to present a definite agreement. »

Raza Hussain said two of the detainees, « B » and « G », were dangerously ill with psychiatric problems and needed to be considered for bail. The men are being held at Long Lartin, Worcestershire, and Full Sutton, near York.