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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 13:55 GMT
Terror suspect could get bail
Lotfi Raissi
Lotfi Raissi (right) wept in court
An Algerian pilot, who US authorities believe trained some of the 11 September hijackers, could be given bail.

Lotfi Raissi, 27, wept as he appeared at Belmarsh Magistrates Court on Friday as part of extradition proceedings brought by the American Government.

I will then deal with the bail application on the charges before me

Magistrate Timothy Workman

A magistrate said that, if further charges were not brought against Mr Raissi, he would rule on a bail application.

Mr Raissi is charged with making a false statement, including failing to declare an old tennis injury, when applying for a pilot's licence from the US Federal Aviation Authority.

But the United States prosecution has made it clear that these are "holding charges".

They suspect Mr Raissi was an instructor of some of the pilots responsible for the hijackings, including the man who took control of the flight which crashed into the Pentagon.

Human rights

Magistrate Timothy Workman said he expected the US Government either to lay terrorist charges against Mr Raissi, or proceed with the current holding charges.

"If they are unable to give the assurances that further charges of terrorist offences are to be offered, I have to assume that they won't," he said.

"I will then deal with the bail application on the charges before me."

Mr Raissi's lawyer Hugo Keith has warned that unless more charges are laid he will claim under Article five of the Human Rights Act that his client has been held in custody unnecessarily.

Metropolitan Police officers arrested Mr Raissi, who was living at Colnbrook, Berkshire, near Heathrow Airport, under the Terrorism Act on 21 September.

Mr Raissi was remanded in custody until 12 February.

See also:

14 Dec 01 | England
Terror suspect stays in custody
05 Oct 01 | UK
Terror suspect refused bail
28 Sep 01 | England
Terror suspect held on US warrant
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