UK

Terror suspect wins control order appeal

The Supreme Court's emblem
Image caption The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in cases of public importance

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that an order which forced a terror suspect to live 150 miles away from his family breached his human rights.

The control order forced the suspect, known as AP, to live under a 16-hour curfew in the Midlands while his family lived in London.

Seven judges agreed unanimously that this breached his human rights.

AP is on bail pending deportation to Ethiopia. His curfew under immigration law is longer than the control order.

Control orders were introduced under 2005 anti-terrorism legislation.

They enable ministers to sign an order to place a terrorism suspect under close supervision that some say is similar to house arrest.

'Common decency'

In 2008, AP was ordered to be electronically tagged and live in the Midlands to keep him away from Islamist extremists in London.

A High Court judge allowed his appeal in August 2008 and quashed the obligation to live in the Midlands.

But that ruling was later reversed by a majority when the case went on to the Court of Appeal.

On Wednesday, his lawyers argued the control order isolated him from his family and breached his right to liberty.

The court heard AP's family, friends and associates had always lived in the London area, and his mother had never left the capital alone.

Delivering the verdict, Lord Brown said the home secretary was wrong to contend that the individual circumstances of the family should be ignored.

Another judge, Sir John Dyson, said the home secretary must find out the effect of a control order before imposing it.

In his written judgement, Lord Brown pointed out that in July 2009, the Secretary of State revoked the control order having decided AP should be deported "on national security grounds and until then detained under immigration powers".

"Whilst, however, the outcome of the appeal is no longer relevant for AP himself, the points it raises are said to be of some general importance with regard to control orders," he said.

Corinna Ferguson, legal officer at human rights group Liberty, said the courts had stood up for "common decency" and she hoped the "strong judgement" would put an end to "the cruelty of 'internal exile' - a recent addition to the unsafe and unfair control order regime".

"No serious terrorist would obey a control order and a number of suspects have disappeared.

"The new government must now act on its objections in opposition and scrap this scheme," she said.

Amnesty International UK campaigns director Tim Hancock called for the government to recognise control orders were "fundamentally flawed" and "abandon them altogether".

"They are not compatible with respect for human rights. If people are suspected of a criminal offence they should be charged and given a fair trial," he said.

AP came to the UK with other members of his family in 1992 at the age of 14. In 1999, AP, his siblings and their mother were granted indefinite leave to remain.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites