Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Cleared car bomb accused bailed

Dr Mohammed Asha
Dr Asha is battling to stay in the UK and continue working as a doctor

An NHS doctor cleared of involvement in the London and Glasgow car bomb plot has been granted bail pending his appeal against deportation.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rejected Home Office claims Dr Mohammad Asha, a Jordanian, was a threat to national security.

Dr Asha, 28, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, has been in prison since acquittal. He wants to stay in the UK.

Bail conditions mean he must report to a Birmingham police station each week.

I want this to be over before August so I can start my new job, if that is to be the case, with a clean sheet
Dr Mohammad Asha

But the commission ruled Dr Asha would not have to adhere to a curfew or be electronically tagged and that he should be free to resume work as a doctor.

Dr Asha, who worked in the neurology department at University Hospital North Staffordshire, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, will have to live at an address in Birmingham.

Panel chairman Mr Justice Mitting said: "We express the view that it is not in the public interest that Dr Asha should be prevented by immigration considerations from resuming work in the National Health Service."

Speaking via a video-link from prison, Dr Asha asked for his deportation appeal to be heard soon.

"May I thank the commission for their kindness and, please, I want this to be over before August so I can start my new job, if that is to be the case, with a clean sheet," he told the hearing.

'Disgraceful claims'

Dr Asha was acquitted at Woolwich Crown Court in December of plotting to murder and cause explosions after attempted car bomb attacks in London's West End and Glasgow Airport in June 2007.

Iraqi doctor Bilal Abdulla was jailed for life for his part in the plot, while co-conspirator Kafeel Ahmed died after the pair drove a Jeep packed with petrol bombs and gas canisters into a terminal building in the Glasgow Airport attack.

To suggest repeatedly... that he was a member of this conspiracy - implicated in this conspiracy - the Secretary of State simply cannot sustain
Stephen Kamlish QC
Representing Dr Mohammad Asha

At the immigration hearing in London, Rupert Jones, for the Home Office, argued Dr Asha remained a threat to national security and that there was a substantial risk he would try to abscond if bailed.

Dr Asha provided "substantial funds" to Abdulla, which were used for the plot, he said, and warned Dr Asha had the "ability and knowledge to launch a campaign of violence".

But Stephen Kamlish QC, representing Dr Asha, said such accusations were "disgraceful".

There was no evidence Dr Asha was involved in preparing explosives and a poem claimed to be addressed to Osama bin Laden was actually to his wife, he told the hearing.

"To suggest repeatedly in this document that he was a member of this conspiracy - implicated in this conspiracy - the Secretary of State simply cannot sustain," he said.

"What on earth would motivate him to abscond? He wants to be a doctor and try to become a consultant neurosurgeon. That's why he wants to be released on bail and remain in the UK."

The tribunal heard Dr Asha's deportation hearing was not likely to go ahead before October.

The former doctor at University Hospital North Staffordshire must live at an address in Birmingham in the meantime.

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