Jurors attack deportation of ricin plot suspect

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Jurors attack deportation of ricin plot suspect

Joined: May 7 2006, 11:31 PM

Aug 26 2006, 08:49 AM #1

Jurors attack deportation of cleared 'ricin plot' suspect
Robert Verkaik / London Independent | August 25 2006
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/ ... 221657.ece

Three of the jurors who helped clear four men of taking part in an alleged ricin terror plot have spoken of their dismay at a judge's ruling that one of the suspects should be returned to Algeria.

Mr Justice Ouseley, rejecting an appeal brought against the Home Office, said that a man known as "Y" represented a danger to national security because of his links to terror groups.

The judgment is expected to give the green light to the Government, which wants to deport 15 more Algerian men despite evidence presented by human rights groups that they face torture on their return.

The jurors, who heard the case against Y at the Old Bailey last year, said they believed the suspect was the victim of an unjust sequence of events orchestrated by the Government.

Their statement, given to Amnesty International, said: "As three members of the public, we have had our eyes opened to such an unfair sequence of events orchestrated by the authorities that we feel compelled to speak out. This is contrary to anything we thought could be possible in a democratic society."

Y was acquitted of involvement in the so-called "ricin plot" to distribute the deadly toxin on car door handles in Holloway Road, north London. Lawyers for Y say he is subject to a death sentence passed in Algeria in his absence for terrorism-related offences. Under human rights law, suspects cannot be deported to countries where they may face torture or ill-treatment. The Government has been seeking diplomatic assurances from the Algerian government that anyone returned there will not be harmed.

In its judgment, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) said: "We give some weight to the assurances received in December 2005 about how he would be treated were he returned to face a retrial ... and to the verbal assurances which have been received. Y'spresence as an extremist supporter shows that he is a risk to the UK's national security and should be deported."

An Amnesty International spokeswoman, Nicola Duckworth, said: "Given the extensive evidence before Siac that Y would face a real risk of torture if deported to Algeria, today's decision can only be described as an affront to justice, and wrong."

Y's solicitor, Gareth Peirce, said: "In one fell swoop the UK has undermined its binding obligations to oppose torture on the basis of a diplomatic nod and a wink."

See also :

Extremist cleared of ricin charges can be deported
By Sean O’Neill
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 18,00.html

United Kingdom: Algerian national security deportation an affront to justice and a green light to torture
Press release, 08/24/2006

Joined: Dec 4 2005, 05:55 PM

Feb 20 2007, 12:53 AM #2

The ricin ring that never was

Corrected version: this article has been restored to the website after being removed and corrected following a legal complaint

Yesterday's trial collapse has exposed the deception behind attempts to link al-Qaida to a 'poison attack' on London

Duncan Campbell
Thursday April 14, 2005
The Guardian

Colin Powell does not need more humiliation over the manifold errors in his February 2003 presentation to the UN. But yesterday a London jury brought down another section of the case he made for war - that Iraq and Osama bin Laden were supporting and directing terrorist poison cells throughout Europe, including a London ricin ring.

Yesterday's verdicts on five defendants and the dropping of charges against four others make clear there was no ricin ring. Nor did the "ricin ring" make or have ricin. Not that the government shared that news with us. Until today, the public record for the past three fear-inducing years has been that ricin was found in the Wood Green flat occupied by some of yesterday's acquitted defendants. It wasn't.

The third plank of the al-Qaida-Iraq poison theory was the link between what Powell labelled the "UK poison cell" and training camps in Afghanistan. The evidence the government wanted to use to connect the defendants to Afghanistan and al-Qaida was never put to the jury. That was because last autumn a trial within a trial was secretly taking place. This was a private contest between a group of scientists from the Porton Down military research centre and myself. The issue was: where had the information on poisons and chemicals come from?

The information - five pages in Arabic, containing amateur instructions for making ricin, cyanide and botulinum, and a list of chemicals used in explosives - was at the heart of the case. The notes had been made by Kamel Bourgass, the sole convicted defendant. His co-defendants believed that he had copied the information from the internet. The prosecution claimed it had come from Afghanistan.

I was asked to look for the original source on the internet. This meant exploring Islamist websites that publish Bin Laden and his sympathisers, and plumbing the most prolific source of information on how to do harm: the writings of the American survivalist right and the gun lobby.

The experience of being an expert witness on these issues has made me feel a great deal safer on the streets of London. These were the internal documents of the supposed al-Qaida cell planning the "big one" in Britain. But the recipes were untested and unoriginal, borrowed from US sources. Moreover, ricin is not a weapon of mass destruction. It is a poison which has only ever been used for one-on-one killings and attempted killings.

If this was the measure of the destructive wrath that Bin Laden's followers were about to wreak on London, it was impotent. Yet it was the discovery of a copy of Bourgass's notes in Thetford in 2002 that inspired the wave of horror stories and government announcements and preparations for poison gas attacks.

It is true that when the team from Porton Down entered the Wood Green flat in January 2003, their field equipment registered the presence of ricin. But these were high sensitivity field detectors, for use where a false negative result could be fatal. A few days later in the lab, the team found that there was no ricin. But when this result was passed to London, the message reportedly said the opposite.

The planned government case on links to Afghanistan was based only on papers that a freelance journalist working for the Times had scooped up after the US invasion of Kabul. Some were in Arabic, some in Russian. They were far more detailed than Bourgass's notes. Nevertheless, claimed a government scientist, they showed a "common origin and progression" in the methods, thus linking the London group of north Africans to Afghanistan and Bin Laden.

The weakness of that case was that neither the scientist nor the intelligence services had examined any other documents that could have been the source. We were told Porton Down and its intelligence advisers had never previously heard of the "Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, containing recipes for ricin and much more". The document, written by veterans of the 1980s Afghan war, has been on the net since 1998.

All the information roads led west, not to Kabul but to California and the US midwest. The recipes for ricin now seen on the internet were invented 20 years ago by survivalist Kurt Saxon. He advertises videos and books on the internet. Before the ricin ring trial started, I phoned him in Arizona. For $110, he sent me a fistful of CDs and videos on how to make bombs, missiles, booby traps - and ricin. We handed a copy of the ricin video to the police.

When, in October, I showed that the chemical lists found in London were an exact copy of pages on an internet site in Palo Alto, California, the prosecution gave up on the Kabul and al-Qaida link claims. But it seems this information was not shared with the then home secretary, David Blunkett, who was still whipping up fear two weeks later. "Al-Qaida and the international network is seen to be, and will be demonstrated through the courts over months to come, actually on our doorstep and threatening our lives," he said on November 14.

The most ironic twist was an attempt to introduce an "al-Qaida manual" into the case. The manual - called the Manual of the Afghan Jihad - had been found on a raid in Manchester in 2000. It was given to the FBI to produce in the 2001 New York trial for the first attack on the World Trade Centre. But it wasn't an al-Qaida manual. The name was invented by the US department of justice in 2001, and the contents were rushed on to the net to aid a presentation to the Senate by the then attorney general, John Ashcroft, supporting the US Patriot Act.

To show that the Jihad manual was written in the 1980s and the period of the US-supported war against the Soviet occupation was easy. The ricin recipe it contained was a direct translation from a 1988 US book called the Poisoner's Handbook, by Maxwell Hutchkinson.

We have all been victims of this mass deception. I do not doubt that Bourgass would have contemplated causing harm if he was competent to do so. But he was an Islamist yobbo on his own, not an Al Qaida-trained superterrorist. An Asbo might be appropriate.

· Duncan Campbell is an investigative writer and a scientific expert witness on computers and telecommunications. He is author of War Plan UK and is not the Guardian journalist of the same name


See also:

guardian explains

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/27 ... cin_piece/

http://www.nineeleven.co.uk/board/viewt ... 5649#55649
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Joined: Dec 4 2005, 05:55 PM

Mar 27 2007, 06:44 PM #3

Cleared Algerian 'still threat to national security'
Last updated at 15:29pm on 27th March 2007

An Algerian cleared of a deadly poison plot in Britain remains a threat to national security because he is so laid-back about the Islamic extremists he associates with, a tribunal was has been told.

The claim lies at the heart of the Home Secretary's bid to deport Mouloud Sihali, who was cleared at the Old Bailey in 2002 of involvement in a Ricin plot to poison thousands of Londoners.

Sihali was a "sympathiser and a trusted associate", a witness for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in central London.

Giving evidence behind a screen the witness, identified only as E, told the hearing it is "difficult to believe Sihali was ignorant" of the activities of two of his former flatmates.

"Even if he was in ignorance, the national security case against him still stands," witness E said.

"In being so undiscerning he has provided significant support to active terrorists.

"It is the Secretary of State's case that he will continue to provide a danger to national security should he remain in the UK for those reasons."

One terror suspect sought refuge with Sahali and David Aisa Khalef at their flat in Ilford, east London, after he escaped from Yarlswood Detention Centre in February 2002, the hearing was told.

This man was "certainly conscious of and used anti-surveillance tactics" and would not have trusted just anyone with his whereabouts, according to witness E.

During this "crucial period", Sihali tried to help him with a £14,000 loan. The suspect was a fundraiser for terrorism overseas and the money had the potential to be linked to terrorism, it was claimed.

But witness E admitted: "What is less clear, it is true to say, is the extent to which the appellant (Sihali) was aware that these activities was providing assistance to terrorists."

Algerian Khalef is another cleared Ricin case defendant.

Many of witness E's claims are based on "highly speculative and highly subjective" assumptions, argued Michael Mansfield QC for Sihali.

In general there has been a "slipshod approach to this case by the Home Secretary in relation to the accuracy of material made available", he said.

Sihali arrived in Britain in 1997 and was originally arrested in 2002 amid claims he had connections with extremists.

He spent some time living at north London's Finsbury Park Mosque as radical cleric Abu Hamza rose to prominence, the tribunal was told.

Despite being acquitted Sihali was re-arrested after the London July 7 2005 bombings.

He was held in jail for four months before being released on special bail by SIAC with tough conditions similar to those placed under the Government's controversial control orders.

He is under partial house arrest and allowed outside in a small area around his home for just eight hours a day on an electric tag.

Visitors have to be approved in advance by the Home Office and he is banned from using the internet or mobile phones.

Some of the evidence against suspects in cases hear by SIAC is kept secret, even from the suspects themselves and their lawyers.

The court holds special "closed" sessions in which the suspect is represented by a vetted defence lawyer or "special advocate".

Witness E said: "By 1998 Abu Hamza had taken over Friday morning prayers (at Finsbury Park Mosque). I find it difficult to believe that someone who had been living at the mosque for two years on and off would not have come into contact with any extremists, Abu Hamza or any of his following."

Mr Mansfield argued that Sihali had not been living at the mosque for that long a period. He asked witness E: "There is no suggestion that he attended any meeting with Abu Hamza or adopted any of his views or read any literature of that kind?"

Witness E replied: "I would like to come back to this in closed session but no."

Mr Mansfield said: "There is no suggestion he had facilitated in any shape or form any political extremism or terrorism?"

Witness replied: "Not as far as I'm aware."
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Joined: Dec 4 2005, 05:55 PM

May 14 2007, 04:37 PM #4

Deportation ruling deals blow to anti-terror policy
Matt Weaver and agencies
Monday May 14, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

The government's anti-terror policy was dealt another blow today after judges ruled against deporting a man cleared of plotting to launch a poison attack on London.

Mr Justice Mitting, chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) panel in central London, said Algerian Mouloud Sihali was not a risk to national security.

But he added: "His immigration status is still uncertain."

Mr Sihali, 30, was acquitted of charges in the Ricin plot trial in April 2005, which alleged that a terror cell planned to smear the toxin on car door handles in Holloway Road, north London.

The cases of three other Algerians - identified only as U, W and Z - were dismissed. The commission ruled that the trio, one of whom was also acquitted in the Ricin plot, could be deported. All three are set to appeal against the decision and U is set to launch his Court of Appeal hearing next month.

Bail conditions on Mr Sihali, who had been tagged and given an exclusion zone, were relaxed. He must now live at an agreed address and report once a week to immigration officials.

The home secretary has 10 days to appeal and press on with his bid to send him back to Algeria.

Mr Sihali waved his right to anonymity by giving a newspaper interview when he expressed concerns about his safety if deported.

In his newspaper interview in February 2006, Mr Sihali said: "I don't know what will happen to me if I go back to Algeria. Will I be prosecuted? Will I be persecuted? That's what I fear."

He claimed he fled his homeland after refusing to perform national service, arriving in Britain in 1997.

At the time of the ricin trial, Mr Sihali admitted two counts of possessing false passports and received 15 months' imprisonment. He was released on his acquittal due to time spent on remand.

He was rearrested in September 2005 after the then home secretary signed a "no torture" agreement with Algeria.

The UK government had sought the agreement, set out in a so-called memorandum of understanding (MoU) specifically so that it could deport a number of terror suspects, including the four in court today, without breaching international human rights laws.

Those laws prevent anyone being deported to a country where they may face abuse.

The government claims Z is a leading UK-based member of the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA.

He is said to have spent two years in hiding when his arrest under the 2001 emergency internment powers seemed to be imminent, but his lawyers claim he was living openly during that period.

Z, a father of two, arrived in Britain in 1991 and later claimed asylum.

W is thought to be 35 and claims to have entered the UK illegally in 1999, applying for asylum shortly afterwards.

He was acquitted as part of the second group of defendants to face charges in connection with the ricin plot.

W claims he fled his homeland after deserting the Algerian Army in the middle of a fight against terrorists. Siac has reported that W has psychiatric problems including delusional disorders.

In all, there are thought to be 15 Algerian terror suspects facing deportation. Two, known as I and V, left Britain voluntarily last June. V had also been acquitted of involvement in the ricin plot.

Last August, an Algerian known as Y - who was also cleared of involvement in the ricin plot - lost his appeal against deportation to his homeland when Siac ruled the political situation there was "changing and stabilising".

Two years ago, three of the jurors who acquitted the Algerians in the ricin plot trial told the Guardian that they were angry at the prospect that they would be deported.

They said their not guilty verdicts appear to have been ignored and feared the men could face torture in Algeria.

Today's ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions dealing with terror suspects.

In February, the Home Office won a landmark ruling to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan on the back of a MoU.

Last month two Libyan suspects won their appeal against deportation because they risked being tortured, even though Libya was also a signatory to the MoU.
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Joined: Nov 25 2005, 11:41 AM

Jul 31 2007, 02:14 PM #5


Public Statement

AI Index: EUR 45/013/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 045
30 July 2007

United Kingdom -- Amnesty International's reaction to the judgment by the Court of Appeal in key cases in the global fight against torture

On 30 July 2007 the Court of Appeal of England and Wales gave judgment in an important test case concerning the appeals of three Algerian men against their deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds. The judgment is in two parts: an open judgment, and a closed, i.e. secret, judgment not disclosed to the appellants, their lawyers of choice or the public.

In each of the three cases the Court of Appeal ruled that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) should reconsider them. In two of the three, the Court of Appeal reached this conclusion on grounds that are secret. Amnesty International considers that it is doubly disturbing that these two men not only were not told the UK authorities' case against them, but will not now be told the grounds on which the SIAC is to reconsider that very case. The principle that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done seems to have been turned on its head.

In addition, the Court of Appeal upheld the SIAC's finding that it was appropriate to exclude those challenging their deportation and their lawyers of choice from the court even when it was considering the question of whether there were substantial grounds for believing that the individuals concerned would face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment upon return. Amnesty International is deeply disappointed at the Court of Appeal's endorsement of such a fundamentally unfair procedure, particularly when people's life and limbs are at stake. It is a grave abdication of the court's duty to uphold the fundamental rights of the individual.

SIAC had concluded that each man's deportation could take place safely and lawfully since it had found that, in the circumstances, none of them would be exposed to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment or other grave human rights violations. These findings -- and in particular, the SIAC's conclusions about the effectiveness of diplomatic assurances obtained by the UK authorities from their Algerian counterparts in sufficiently reducing the risk of torture or other ill-treatment these men would face if deported -- were left unchallenged by the Court of Appeal in its open judgment.

Despite the glaring flaws of the SIAC's conclusions in respect of the risks that each of these individuals would indeed face if deported to Algeria, the Court of Appeal accepted those conclusions without questioning. Amnesty International considers that the fact that the Court of Appeal did not see fit to question these SIAC's findings raises a real question as to whether an effective route to challenge the UK authorities' reliance on diplomatic assurances to secure the deportations of these three men exists at all.

Nonetheless, in the case of Mustapha Taleb, the Court of Appeal found that the SIAC had been wrong in concluding that he would benefit from a particular interpretation of Algerian law without having heard any evidence in support of that conclusion. Indeed, the UK authorities were later told that that very interpretation was not one that had been or was likely to be adopted in Algeria. However, it took over a year and a lengthy appeal process for this error to be recognized by the UK courts.

While the Court of Appeal upheld the SIAC's finding in the cases of BB and U that it was safe to return them to Algeria on the basis of the assurances received by the UK authorities from their Algerian counterparts, it decided that their cases should nonetheless be remitted to the SIAC on grounds that are secret. This means that neither U nor BB, nor their lawyers of choice are privy to the Court of Appeal's reasons for sending their cases back to the SIAC.

In three previous separate rulings the SIAC endorsed the view of the UK Home Secretary and dismissed the appeal of Mustapha Taleb, an Algerian man formerly known as Y for legal reasons, and of two other Algerian men, known only as U and BB for legal reasons. The SIAC found that it was reasonable to deport each man to Algeria on the grounds that they were a threat to the UK national security and that they would not face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment if deported to Algeria.

Amnesty International observed most of the open hearings before the SIAC and the Court of Appeal in these cases. The organization considers that forcibly returning these men would expose them to a real risk of serious human rights violations, including torture or other ill-treatment; that the purported assurances given by the Algerian authorities that the human rights of the three men will be protected are intrinsically unreliable; and that the judicial process has so far denied these men an effective opportunity to challenge the UK authorities' assertion that they are a risk to the UK's national security.

Extensive evidence, including reports by Amnesty International, documenting the risk of torture faced by individuals who are arrested by the DRS, was presented before SIAC during each man's initial appeal against deportation. SIAC disregarded this material.

Amnesty International has consistently expressed concern that the Algerian military intelligence service routinely detains and abuses people suspected of any involvement in terrorism. Even the UK government now recognizes that, if deported to Algeria, it is almost certain that these men would be held in incommunicado detention by Algeria's intelligence agency, known as the Department for Information and Security (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité, DRS). The DRS specializes in interrogating people thought to possess information about terrorist activities. It is widely known to practise torture and other ill-treatment.

Mustapha Taleb survived torture in Algeria and came to the UK, where he was recognized as a refugee. He was among those who, in 2005, in the UK, were charged, tried and eventually acquitted of all charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy to produce poisons and/or explosives. After his acquittal, in April 2005, he was released from custody where he had been since January 2003. He was later re-arrested and held pending deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds.

Along with others Mustapha Taleb appealed to SIAC against being deported to Algeria, contesting that he was a risk to the UK's "national security", and arguing that he would face a real risk of torture if returned to Algeria. Amnesty International monitored the open hearings before SIAC in his case. Despite his previous acquittal, the case against him in the open hearings consisted mostly of the same allegations made at the criminal trial, which the jury in that trial had clearly disbelieved.

In reaching its decision in Mustapha Taleb's case, SIAC relied on secret intelligence provided by the UK authorities that was withheld from him, his lawyers of choice and the public. The SIAC proceedings were profoundly unfair, denying Mustapha Taleb the right to a fair hearing and making it impossible for him to effectively refute the UK authorities' case that he was a "national security" risk.

Three of the jurors who acquitted Mustapha Taleb in the criminal proceedings expressed their shock that, despite that acquittal, the same evidence was being used in the open hearings before SIAC to "justify his deportation". The jurors wrote to Amnesty International:
As three ordinary members of the public we have had our eyes opened to such an unfair and unjust sequence of events orchestrated by the authorities that we feel compelled to speak out. This is contrary to anything we thought could be possible in a democratic, free society. Since January 2003, "Y" [Mustapha Taleb] has been persecuted by our government beyond all realms of imagination. We were three jurors on "Y"'s criminal trial (the 'no-ricin trial') and after seven months listening carefully to the evidence and arguments from the prosecution and defence, we, as a jury, acquitted him of all charges and expected that, on his release, he could begin to rebuild his life in this country.
BB has been found by the SIAC to be a "risk to national security", almost entirely on the basis of evidence presented in secret hearings, which he has been unable to know or challenge. U has also been found by the SIAC to be a "risk to national security". Although he does not accept this finding, he has, in earlier hearings, waived his right to challenge it, since he lacks confidence in the SIAC's ability to give him a fair hearing.

For more information on Amnesty International's concerns about the UK authorities' deportation attempts to Algeria, see
United Kingdom: Court of Appeal hears key case in the global fight against torture, AI Index: EUR 45/009/2007 published on 18 June 2007 and available here http://web.amnesty.org/library/print/ENGEUR450092007, and
United Kingdom: Deportations to Algeria at all costs, published on 26 February 2007, AI Index: EUR 45/001/2007,
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: Dec 7 2005, 03:21 PM

Jan 15 2008, 04:28 PM #6

From Amnesty article above wrote:Mustapha Taleb survived torture in Algeria and came to the UK, where he was recognized as a refugee. He was among those who, in 2005, in the UK, were charged, tried and eventually acquitted of all charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy to produce poisons and/or explosives. After his acquittal, in April 2005, he was released from custody where he had been since January 2003. He was later re-arrested and held pending deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds.
None of this coverage seems to be making it clear that this man is in fact still in prison to this day. This means Taleb has now been a prisoner for five years when he is guilty of no crime and has broken no laws.
I do not know about the other cleared defendants and wonder if anyone else here does?

From CagePrisoners:
Name:  Mustapha Taleb (Released)
Nationality:  Algerian
Residence:  Britain
Marital Status:  Single
Date of Arrest:  07/01/2003
Location of Arrest:  London, UK

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Mustapha Taleb is from Algeria, and was born on 28 October 1969.  Taleb was one of several men accused and subsequently acquitted in connection with the so called 'ricin plot.'

Taleb entered the UK in March 2000.  He made an application for asylum but had his request refused in January 2001.  In June 2001, Taleb appealed successfully against being refused asylum. He was granted full refugee status, with indefinite leave to remain in November 2001.

On 7 January 2003, Taleb was arrested as he visited a bank in Wood Green, and on 13 January, was charged with "possession of articles of value to a terrorist" in relation to the ricin plot.

Scotland Yard had received intelligence reports from the Algerian secret service in January 2003, which gave details of a plot to poison Britons.

These secret papers led to the ricin raids.  No ricin was actually found at the flat or at any of the addresses of the other men who were alleged to be connected to the ricin plot.

Taleb had worked in the bookshop at the Finsbury Park mosque and was the person who handled requests to use its photocopier. It was through a fingerprint on one of the recipes that had been photocopied at the mosque that he was linked with Kamel Bourgass.

On 22 January 2003, a total of eight people were charged with offences related to developing or producing a chemical weapon contrary to section one of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

In September 2004, Taleb went on trial at the Old Bailey with Kamel Bourgass, David Aissa Khalef, Mouloud Sihali, and Sidali Feddag.

But on 8 April 2005, Taleb, Khalef, Sihali and Feddag were cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.  On 13 April, the trial of four others was abandoned.

Taleb was subsequently released.

Gareth Peirce, who represented Taleb said: "He [Taleb] has never been so frightened in his life."  She said he had decided not to talk to the press after seeing the media coverage, which suggested that a big al-Qaida network had been plotting a poison attack on Britain.

As a result of the alleged ricin plot, eight innocent men were presumed guilty.  They had been held in Belmarsh prison without charge for two years and remained there throughout the trial. According to their lawyers, all suffered from varying degrees of depression.

The Home Office later apologised to the men they had placed under controversial anti-terrorist control orders, claiming it had made a 'clerical error.'

"We are not democrats for, among other reasons, democracy sooner or later leads to war and dictatorship. Just as we are not supporters of dictatorships, among other things, because dictatorship arouses a desire for democracy, provokes a return to democracy, and thus tends to perpetuate a vicious circle in which human society oscillates between open and brutal tyranny and a lying freedom." - Errico Malatesta, Democracy and Anarchy 1924

Joined: Dec 7 2005, 03:21 PM

Jan 15 2008, 05:28 PM #7

Court approves terrorism suspects' deportation

LONDON (Reuters) - Four Arab men faced deportation after a special court dealing with foreign terrorism suspects rejected their appeals on Friday, in cases that test the balance between security and human rights.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, accepting assurances received by Britain from Algeria, dismissed arguments that three Algerian men would risk torture on returning home.

It said the fourth, a Jordanian, was protected by a 2005 agreement between Britain and Amman on the human rights of deportees, without which "he would face the real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment and even torture at the hands of agents of the Jordanian state".

The government regards the men, whom media can identify only by letters, as threats to its national security and say one of them had direct ties to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Human rights groups say that if there is evidence against them, it should put them on trial. They say assurances of fair treatment from countries with records of torture are worthless.

Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for two of the men, said they would appeal again and condemned the secrecy surrounding the court.

"We have been trapped in the vice of secret hearings, secret courts, secret decisions on appeal," Peirce told reporters, adding that the men were only prolonging their legal battle because they feared for their lives in Algeria.

"It is inconceivable that any human being would continue to run this marathon in custody if he did not absolutely fear he would face torture or death as the alternative.

"She said she had no idea of the content of confidential 'closed evidence' that formed part of the court's deliberations.


The government said the court decision recognised the value of its deportation agreements with other countries.

"These agreements strike the right balance between allowing us to deport individuals who threaten the security of this country and safeguarding the rights of these individuals on their return," Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said.

The government says one of the Algerians, U, had ties to bin Laden and backed militants behind bomb plots in 1999-2000 against Los Angeles airport and a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.

Another, Y, was tried and acquitted of a plot involving ricin poison, but later re-arrested. "Mentally he's completely crushed," said Lawrence Archer, a juror in Y's case who is now campaigning for him and has visited him in jail.

Jordan told Britain in September that its GID intelligence agency wanted to investigate the Jordanian man, VV, in connection with terrorism, including alleged links to al Qaeda commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The court said a United Nations report in January painted an "utterly deplorable" picture of torture and abuse of detainees in Jordan, and Human Rights Watch uncovered further "horrific" evidence when visiting a Jordanian prison in August.

But it said it was in Jordan's interests to keep its promise to Britain to treat deportees humanely and allow them regular visits from an independent monitor if they were detained. It was confident Amman would keep this commitment in VV's case.
"We are not democrats for, among other reasons, democracy sooner or later leads to war and dictatorship. Just as we are not supporters of dictatorships, among other things, because dictatorship arouses a desire for democracy, provokes a return to democracy, and thus tends to perpetuate a vicious circle in which human society oscillates between open and brutal tyranny and a lying freedom." - Errico Malatesta, Democracy and Anarchy 1924