Algeria ‘fed false information’ about terror suspect

Algeria ‘fed false information’ about terror suspect

May, 24, 2006,

The British Security Services were fed false information by the Algerian authorities about a terror suspect who was later charged with a deadly poison plot on Britain, a tribunal was told on Wednesday.

Despite being cleared of conspiring in the ricin plot the 35-year-old suspect, identified only as Y, has extensive links to Islamic extremists and should be deported to his native Algeria, the Home Secretary argues.

Y is fighting deportation at the Special Immigration Appeal Commission in London saying it would breach his human rights if he was deported. The British Government claim he is a threat to national security.

A secret informant used by the British to gather information about Y probably had the « words placed in his mouth by the Algerian military service », Ben Emmerson QC, for Y, told the hearing.

Considering that the informant had been illegally held for more than 12 days by the DRS, Algeria’s military intelligence service, and was allegedly beaten by them, his evidence against Y « falls in credibility and reliability », Mr Emmerson claimed.

He said: « There has been manipulation and subterfuge by the Algerian authorities to create the information that they were feeding to their British counterparts that can only cast doubt upon the information from this man. »

Mr Emmerson noted: « The British position was not to ask questions about the informer in case the information dried up. »

His information was littered with « inconsistencies », Mr Emmerson said.

He argued: « It cannot be overlooked that they put words into the mouth of the informer as part of the unprovinenced and unsourced material at the outset because the Algerian authorities had viewed him (Y) as someone of interest to them and wanted to bring him into the view of the British authorities. This is a man the Algerian security services are very keen to get their hands on and have been for a long time. »

Y was arrested in January 2003 but cleared with three others at the Old Bailey in April 2005 of conspiring to use ricin.

In his absence in 1997 and 1998, Y was sentenced to death and life imprisonment by an Algerian court for terror offences.

He was found guilty of creating an armed terrorist group prejudicing security.

Further information about these convictions cannot be obtained from the Algerian authorities, Mr Emmerson said, adding: « This puts him in the front line to receive arbitrary detention, unfair trial, and even death (if deported). »

Y insists he is not guilty of the two offences of which he has been convicted. Huge doubt remains on whether any amnesty in Algeria would apply to him anyway because he has not confessed to any crime, Mr Emmerson argued.

The hearing was adjourned to June 23.

Published: Wednesday 24th May 2006