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EDITIONS
Monday, 18 November, 2002, 12:47 GMT
Terror case coverage condemned
London police
The men are charged with terror offences in London
A solicitor representing one of three men charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 says she will be complaining to the Attorney General about press coverage.

Scotland Yard and the prime minister's official spokesman have refused to comment on suggestions that a poison gas attack was being planned on the London Underground.


There's been a quite extraordinary tidal wave of completely contemptuous and prejudicial coverage

Solicitor Gareth Pierce
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has denied the existence of a "credible" threat to the Tube.

Rabah Chekat-Bais, 21, Rabah Kadris, in his mid-30s, and Karim Kadouri, 33, all of no fixed abode, were remanded in custody by Bow Street magistrates in central London on Monday.

Mr Kadris' solicitor Gareth Pierce said outside the court: "There's been a quite extraordinary tidal wave of completely contemptuous and prejudicial coverage of this case."

She said the press appeared to have declared "open season" on her client and his co-defendants and were taking "target practice".

'Invented stories'

Ms Pierce told BBC News 24: "A supposedly responsible press in a democratic country... have so catastrophically and intentionally destroyed the chance of these men to ever get a fair trial on the basis of false, fabricated and invented stories which appear to have no end."

She said she would be writing to the Attorney General regarding media coverage of the case.

Paul Farnhan, solicitor for Mr Kadouri, said that none of the allegations recently aired in public had been put to his client.

"We spent six days at the police station and not a shred of what had come out in another arena, the public arena, has been put at that stage or the week since."

He went on: "Do you believe the police officers or do you believe the press?"

Court appearance

The men, who are of North African origin, were charged under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for the possession of articles for the preparation, instigation and commission of terrorism acts.

They appeared in court last week and were remanded in custody to appear before magistrates on Monday, when they were again remanded in custody until 16 December.

Police said no cyanide or noxious gas had been found on the men when they were arrested on 9 November.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC's Breakfast programme there had been "no specific threat" to the Tube.

He said it was safe to travel on the Tube and added: "I have seen no specific threat whatever in respect of the use of nerve gas or anything else like that on the Underground."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"The three men listened intently as the proceedings unfolded"
The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"One defence lawyer is furious at the press coverage"

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See also:

17 Nov 02 | England
08 Nov 02 | Politics
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