Appeal judges attack control orders for terror suspects

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The Government has been rebuffed for the second time in the courts over its use of control orders, amounting to virtual house arrest, for terrorist suspects.

The ruling by the Court of Appeal plunges the control order regime, the centrepiece of recent anti-terror legislation, deeper into crisis.

Five weeks ago, the High Court denounced the controversial restrictions on six terror suspects as a breach of their human rights as they amounted to a deprivation of liberty.

John Reid, the Home Secretary, challenged the ruling, but the appeal judges inflicted a second defeat on the Government.

The judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, said the arguments for quashing control orders were compelling: "We agree that the facts of this case fall clearly on the wrong side of the dividing line."

The six men, who cannot be identified, are all Iraqi asylum-seekers suspected of travelling to Britain to carry out some form of terrorist outrage. They were arrested under anti-terrorism legislation but then released without charge. Instead control orders were made against them.

Mr Reid said last night he would fight the case all the way to the House of Lords.