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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 March, 2005, 21:58 GMT
Terror suspect released on bail
Abu Qatada
Abu Qatada is among eight suspects likely to be freed on Friday
A terror suspect held without charge since 2001 has been freed on bail, with eight more suspects due to be released.

The Special Immigration Appeal Commission (Siac) said the Algerian, known only as 'A', was being freed on condition he wears an electronic tag.

Siac said similar bail was granted "in principle" to eight further detainees, and a tenth, 'G', under house arrest, was to have his conditions relaxed.

The 10 were held under anti-terror laws which ministers are trying to replace.

Introduced in the wake of the 11 September attacks, the laws allow the detention of foreign terror suspects who cannot be deported without trial.

But they have been ruled unlawful by Law Lords and expire on 14 March.

The planned replacement, the Prevention of Terrorism Bill - which would allow "control orders" including a form of house arrest to be imposed on British and foreign terror suspects - is currently undergoing a rocky journey through Parliament.

We need this legislation to protect the security of people in this country and I hope they now change their position and allow the clearly expressed view of the House of Commons to prevail
Tony Blair

Siac chairman Mr Justice Ouseley told the hearing: "Now that the secretary of state has decided that he is not going to seek certain levels of restrictions, for people to stay in detention while the precise degree of freedom is resolved seems to me quite unnecessary.

"They can be released on more restrictive terms and the fine tuning can be carried out later."

The suspect known as 'A', a married father-of-five from Algeria, was the only one of the detainees to appear before the Siac hearing in person.

The other detainees likely to be granted bail on Friday, who are being held at Belmarsh and Woodhill, are Abu Qatada, and those known only as 'E', 'H', 'K', 'P' and 'Q', along with two men currently held at Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire, Palestinian Abu Rideh and detainee 'B'.

Conditions

Mr Justice Ouseley told 'A': "It's very important for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your family - with whom you will shortly be reunited - that you keep to these bail terms."

The bail conditions, based on proposals handed to the court on Thursday morning by the Home Office, closely resemble the controversial proposals being fought out in Parliament.

The bail conditions state:

  • He must wear an electronic tag
  • He must observe a curfew between 7pm and 7am
  • He must live at his home address
  • He will not be allowed to meet anyone by prior arrangement outside his home without Home Office permission
  • Police and other officials will be able to carry out searches in his home
  • 'A' will only be allowed one fixed telephone line. Mobile phones and computers which can access the internet are not permitted in his home
  • He must notify the Home Office if he intends to leave the country
  • He will be limited to one bank account and barred from transferring money without the Home Office's consent

Now that the Secretary of State has decided that he is not going to seek certain levels of restrictions, for people to stay in detention while the precise degree of freedom is resolved seems to me quite unnecessary
Mr Justice Ouseley
Siac chairman

Detainee 'G', who is already under house arrest, later had his bail restrictions relaxed by Siac. He is now under the same bail terms as detainee 'A'.

The other eight are expected to receive similar bail terms.

Mr Justice Ouseley said the other terror suspects currently being held at Belmarsh that are likely to be released will be taken directly to their homes where they will also be fitted with an electronic tag.

Detainees with no home address will have accommodation provided by their local authorities or the National Asylum Support Service.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why the detainees are being released on bail




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