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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 April, 2005, 01:45 GMT 02:45 UK
Apology over control orders error
Abu Qatada pictured in a television interview in January 2000 (ABC News)
Abu Qatada was among those served with control orders
A clerical error has forced the Home Office to apologise to the 10 terror suspects issued with control orders.

Days after the controversial orders were issued in March, it was found the same reason was printed on each one.

The government sent letters of apology to the men, but said that the orders remained valid.

The orders subject the men, who had been held in prison without trial, to restrictions such as curfew and electronic tagging since their release.

'Clerical error'

"It was a clerical error which resulted in the same basis of the decision of the order being made on March 11," a Home Office spokeswoman said. "We noticed the error on March 24 and we took swift action to correct it.

"The court, the individuals and their legal representatives were notified."

The control orders were signed by Home Secretary Charles Clarke within hours of new anti-terror laws being passed.

The legislation was brought in following a marathon, all-night debate in the Commons and Lords.

Tories had wanted to impose a "sunset clause" to automatically kill the bill in 12 months, but the prime minister broke the deadlock by offering opponents an opportunity to change or even repeal the measures next year.


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