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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Paris bomb suspect's extradition blocked
French police in Paris in 1995
The 1995 attacks led to a security clampdown
A UK court has overturned a decision to extradite an Algerian man to France in connection with the 1995 Paris metro bombings.


A wholly fresh consideration of the issues...must follow

Lord Justice Sedley

Rashid Ramda, a member of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), appealed successfully against a decision made by the British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, in November to hand him over to France.

The case will now go back to Mr Blunkett to be reconsidered - adding another twist to Mr Ramda's six-year battle against extradition.

The series of bomb attacks targeting the French railways and Paris metro killed 10 people and injured 180 others.

The judges said they did not feel Mr Blunkett had "adequately or fairly addressed" the issues surrounding Mr Ramda's case.

French police investigating the bombings found evidence that funds had been transferred from London to the men accused of the attacks. Mr Ramda, who was living in London at the time, is alleged to have done this.

'Risk of ill-treatment'

The two other suspects in the attacks - Smain Ait Belkacem and Boualem Bensaid - were found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison in September 1999.

But the judges in Thursday's hearing expressed doubts about the evidence against Mr Ramda gathered from Bensaid's testimony.

They pointed to claims that Bensaid had been mistreated by the French authorities.

Mr Ramda's lawyer told the court there was a "real risk" that Mr Ramda would suffer ill-treatment himself if he was returned to France.

Lord Justice Sedley, who delivered the ruling, said that the fresh consideration of Mr Ramda's case should "include express consideration of the question of the claimant's own safety in the hands of the French authorities".

Mr Ramda has been in prison ever since his arrest, from where he has fought his determined legal battle against his extradition.

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