In a costly blow to the Conservative government’s approach to counter-terrorism, a group of terror suspects are to be allowed to stay in Britain following a challenge to their proposed deportation under the Human Rights Act.
Home Secretary Theresa May has been forced to admit defeat, after a lengthy struggle to deport six Algerian terror suspects linked to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda failed in the face of a Human Rights Act challenge.
The doomed attempt to deport the terror suspects — believed to have cost at least £1 million — was described in court as “by any standards, exceptionally long and fraught”. The legal costs wasted in funding the challenge represent an additional financial burden on the public purse, with the cost of keeping the group under surveillance estimated as being as high as £10 million a year.
It is understood that Mrs. May will not launch an appeal against the Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s (SIAC) decision, reports The Telegraph, and so in effect will be granting the group the right to live in the UK.
The men in question — all now living in England under strict bail conditions with legally-protected anonymity — have been deemed a threat to national security with their alleged links to Al Qaeda. One was linked to a UK terror plot, another is said to have had “direct links” to bin Laden and had been a leading organiser for overseas plots.
Another is alleged to be an associate of Abu Hamza, the one-eyed radical Muslim cleric now serving a life sentence in the U.S. for his role in aiding a group that took 16 U.S. and British tourists hostage in Yemen in 1998, four of whom were killed, and for recruiting young men into terrorist training camps.
The Home Office, which says it is “extremely disappointed with SIAC’s judgment”, had hoped diplomatic assurances from Middle East countries that none of the terror suspects would face torture after deportation would be enough to secure their expulsion. However, the judges ruled:
“It is not inconceivable that these Appellants, if returned to Algeria, would be subjected to ill-treatment infringing Article 3 [of the Human Rights Act]. There is a real risk of such a breach.”