Mentally ill terror suspect is granted bail on appeal (TELEGRAPH UK) By Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor 02/01/05)
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A Palestinian suspected of raising funds for terrorist groups linked
to al-Qa´eda was granted conditional bail yesterday by a court in
London because the damage to his mental health caused by indefinite
detention had reduced the risk he posed to national
Shortly after the decision was announced by Siac, the
Immigration Appeals Commission, it was told that Charles Clarke, the
Home Secretary, considered it appropriate for the court to "exercise
its bail jurisdiction" in respect of around a dozen other suspected
foreign terrorists currently detained without trial.
there would be restrictions on their release. Mr Clarke´s
counsel, Ian Burnett, QC, argued that two Algerians who applied for
bail yesterday should be freed only on conditions that amounted to
Their counsel, Ben Emmerson, QC, replied that if
the men, known as A
and P, were given the choice of complete isolation at home or
remaining in prison they would prefer to stay where they were.
Describing his clients as "guinea pigs", Mr Emmerson said any bail
conditions imposed by Siac would be a "template" for the new control
orders proposed by the Home Secretary last week.
It also emerged
that Mr Clarke was seeking to revoke the bail granted
last year to an Algerian known as G because two unidentified men were
said to have breached the conditions of his house arrest by visiting
his flat without permission.
The man granted bail yesterday was
Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh,
33, who was born in Jordan to stateless Palestinian parents and
claimed asylum on arrival in Britain 10 years ago.
detained in December 2001 under newly-introduced anti-
terrorism legislation, accused of being "an active supporter of
various international terrorist groups, including those with links to
Osama Bin Laden´s terrorist network".
After six months in
Belmarsh Prison, Abu Rideh was diagnosed as
mentally ill and transferred to Broadmoor special hospital. At a
hearing last December, he applied for bail. A psychiatrist told Siac
that Abu Rideh was "fearful of the Government, believing that it was
trying to kill him or that Zionists were. He continued to experience
voices, as he had done for many years".
However, his "extremely
serious mental health condition had
significantly improved since his transfer to
Yesterday Mr Emmerson, for Abu Rideh, asked Siac to
prevent the press
from reporting any of the detailed medical evidence in the court´s
written judgment, even though it had already been disclosed in open
The application for reporting restrictions was opposed by
Telegraph and dismissed by Mr Justice Ouseley, Siac´s chairman, after
a brief hearing.
Mr Emmerson argued that publication would
breach his client´s right
to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the Human Rights
Convention, while the newspaper maintained that this was outweighed
by its right under Article 10 to impart information about a court
that often sat in closed session.
Ruling on the bail
application, Mr Justice Ouseley said that "there
has been and continues to be a detriment to [Abu Rideh´s] mental
health from the indefinite nature of his detention as he sees
He could be treated better at home. But what mattered was
of his health condition on the risk to national security that he
continued to pose.
Abu Rideh remained committed to
the "extremist views, delusions even"
which had previously motivated him.
suggested that his desire to avoid a return to
prison would discourage him from resuming his terrorist
His wife would have a "real interest" in trying to
stop him using any
communications equipment that might be smuggled into their house
because she needed him to be at home with her and their five
Although the risk to the public could never be
eliminated, it would
be "inhibited to a significant degree" by bail conditions to be set
at a later date.
Bail applications for A and P will be further
(© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004. 02/01/05)
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