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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 18:43 GMT 19:43 UK
Deportation ban to be challenged
Armed patrols in Victoria Station
The terrorism threat has left the law outdated, says the government
The government has got the go-ahead to challenge a law preventing terror suspects being deported to countries with poor human rights records.

The European Court of Human Rights has allowed the UK to challenge the European Convention on Human Rights.

In 1996, a Sikh militant successfully used the convention to prevent his deportation from the UK to India claiming he faced being tortured.

The Home Office says it wants the issue revisited due to security fears.

"Terrorist attacks, including on New York, Istanbul, Madrid, Egypt, Bali and London, demonstrate that Europe faces a new and heightened threat to which we must respond," a spokeswoman said.

"In many instances, the only means of reducing the threat to our citizens posed by individuals from abroad who foment or instigate terrorism is by removing them to their home countries."

Third party

Until now the courts interpretation of article three of the convention has been to the letter. But the UK government suggests the threat of terror outweighs this.

In a joint statement, Home Secretary Charles Clarke and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer said the court in Strasbourg had allowed the UK to act as the 'third party' in a case brought against the Netherlands.

A 22-year-old, Algerian Mohammed Ramzy, is challenging the Netherlands over its decision to deport him after he was acquitted of involvement in terrorist activity. A decision is expected by the end of the next year.

The UK will now be able to present their argument as part of the Netherlands' case.

If the UK had had to wait for a suitable British case to bring their challenge before the Strasbourg judges, they could have had to wait for years.

Diplomatic agreements

Several terror suspects have been rounded up by the government in the wake of the 7 July bombings in London.

It aims to deport them, despite criticism from human rights groups that the suspects may face torture in their countries of origin.

Ministers have already signed a diplomatic agreement with Jordan and are seeking another with Algeria to prevent deportees facing torture or ill-treatment.

However, these agreements are likely to face lengthy legal challenges in the British courts.

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