Deportation June 16, 2006
Terror suspect deported voluntarily
Friday June 16, 2006
An Algerian man suspected of being an international terrorist was deported from Britain today.
The man, who can only be identified by the initial "V", was acquitted in April last year of involvement in a plot to poison Londoners with the toxin ricin.
He had been in custody at Long Lartin prison, Worcestershire, since September last year while the government negotiated details of his return with Algiers. It was understood that Mr V is the first of seven Algerian terror suspects to leave British soil after beginning voluntary moves in protest at "inhumane" treatment.
His departure is a coup for the home secretary, John Reid. The Home Office has been struggling for years for a solution to the quandary of terror suspects such as Mr V.
Internment laws brought in after the September 11 terror attacks in the United States were knocked down by the Law Lords and the replacement control order regime has also been criticised. Ministers were unable to forcibly deport Mr V, or others, to Algeria because human rights laws say they cannot be returned to a country where they may face torture or ill-treatment.
The suspect flew on a scheduled flight from an unnamed London airport to Algiers this afternoon. He was accompanied by British officials, believed to be immigration service staff. British Airways was selling one-way tickets to Algiers today for £181.
A source close to Mr V said the Algerian had agreed to drop his appeal and leave Britain out of "desperation" at his treatment by the government.
The source, who declined to be named, said: "He went voluntarily not because of the work of the government. This was out of desperation.
"Imagine someone with a family being locked up in a high security prison who does not know how long he is going to be held. This is a chance to be free in Algeria - but to build your life from scratch."
Apart from Mr V, three more suspects have already dropped their appeals against deportation proceedings, clearing the way for the Home Office to begin removing them, he added. Although the process is legally an involuntary deportation it can be interpreted as a voluntary move because of the suspects' decisions to drop the appeals.
In March this year a man who can only be identified as "A" began negotiations to return voluntarily to Algeria. The suspected international terrorist and former Belmarsh detainee, who was held without trial for three and a half years, said he was considering the step because of "mental torture" imposed by the British government.
Now on a control order, Mr A said at the time: "I don't want to live like this. I'm useless to my kids, to society and to my community. I can't work, I can't even do the shopping for my wife. If I'm not going to have my freedom in this country then I have to go back. A human being can't take all this."
He added: "Here we are not tortured physically but mentally we are tortured. I am the cause of suffering for my children. Enough is enough."
The 39-year-old father-of-five said he had approached the Algerian embassy in London about securing permission to return.
||Extraditions from the UK