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Court win for dissident al-Masari

The Islamic dissident fighting deportation amid claims that his welfare is being sacrificed to protect huge arms deals with Saudi Arabia yesterday won the right to examine government documents relating to his case, writes Heather Mills.

A judge yesterday ordered the Home Office to disclose to Muhammad al- Masari details of its discussions with the government of Dominica, the Caribbean island to which it is intended to deport him. Reports have linked the deportation to the promise of extra aid.

Counsel for Dr Masari successfully argued at a preliminary hearing of an appeal against deportation that the information was vital to assess whether Dominica really would provide a safe haven. But Judge David Pearl, the chief special adjudicator, rejected a further application for the Home Office to supply details of any approaches to other countries. He also rejected a request for an adjournment of the appeal, due to go ahead later this month.

Dr Masari's accusations of corruption and calls for a peaceful transition to Islamic rule in Saudi Arabia have infuriated the Saudi royal family, who have threatened to withhold lucrative business contracts.

Yesterday's hearing coincided with the lodging of an application for a judicial review of the handling of the case by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary.