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Last Updated: Monday, 7 November 2005, 13:47 GMT
Blair defends 'on-the-runs' plan
Tony Blair
Tony Blair defended plans for 'on-the-runs' legislation
Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended government plans for dealing with so-called 'on-the-runs'.

He said those suspected of offences before 1998 had to be dealt with in the same way as those prisoners released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Blair said it was not a matter of political expediency, but would not be drawn on details of the judicial process on-the-runs might face.

The government is due to bring forward legislation on the issue shortly.

It will deal with people suspected of terrorism who have not been brought to court or who have fled from prison.

"Under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, people who were convicted and in prison for terrorist offences pre-1998 got released," Mr Blair said.

"How can you possibly say they (on-the-runs) should be put in prison if the people already convicted have been let out.

"That is why there is a symmetry if you like about dealing with prisoners and on-the-runs."

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