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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 16:33 GMT
Terror suspect refused bail
Police raid on terror suspect
Eight suspects were arrested this week
One of eight people arrested under the new anti-terrorism legislation earlier this week has lost his application for bail.

Djamel Ajouaou, who is believed to be of Algerian origin, had his application turned down by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Friday afternoon.

Mr Justice Andrew Collins, sitting as chairman of the commission, heard Mr Ajouaou was an active supporter of terrorist groups linked to Osama Bin Laden.

Ian Burnett QC, for the government, warned there were reasonable grounds to suggest Mr Ajouaou, who lives in London, would abscond if freed.

He is... the individual to whom everybody turns to when they are in trouble. His life is an open book

Gareth Peirce
Mr Ajouaou's solicitor

"If he was at liberty it is considered he would pursue these activities of supporting terrorism, and that there is a real risk he would in effect 'go to ground' in the UK and continue his activities."

Mr Burnett said Mr Ajouaou - an interpreter and former caterer - had procured equipment for terrorist organisations.

He also had links to Amar Doha, who was currently in custody awaiting deportation to the US in connection with a Millennium Eve bomb plot in Los Angeles, and Yasser al-Siri who was suspected of involvement in the murder of a Northern Alliance warlord.

Mr Burnett pointed out that under the legislation, Mr Ajouaou was free to return to his country of origin at any time.

'British wife'

Gareth Peirce, for the suspect, described his detention as "astonishing".

She said there was no solid evidence against her client and said the reason he was linked to Doha and al-Siri was because he had visited them as an interpreter in Belmarsh top security prison - for which he had been given security clearance.

Mrs Peirce said Mr Ajouaou had been in the UK since 1985 and had a British wife and family - and that he was a widely respected member of his community.

"He is somebody who is known in his community as the individual to whom everybody turns to when they are in trouble. His life is an open book.

"He doesn't understand why he is here. He can only think it is because he is a close associate of someone he had been encouraged to visit."

Mr Ajouaou himself stood up in court to maintain his innocence.

He said he had only been doing favours for people and had no links to terrorists - adding he had always done what was right during his time in Britain and now intended to return home.

Laws criticised

The new anti-terror law, which was passed last Friday, enables police to hold non-UK citizens without trial where terrorism is suspected but deportation is not possible.

Detainees are entitled to apply for bail to the commission. If denied, they can file a separate appeal to the same commission.

The suspects can be held for six months, after which their cases will be reviewed by an immigration appeals tribunal.

Director of the campaign group Liberty, John Wadham, has said the detentions were "utterly unjust".

Labour peer Lord Desai said he was concerned about miscarriages of justice.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Terror laws at-a-glance
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