Lawyers for two terror suspects make plea for bail

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The Independent Online

Two of the terror suspects detained without trial in Britain could be free within days if hearings today are successful. Lawyers for two of the men in Belmarsh and Woodhill are to go before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission this morning to ask for bail.

Two of the terror suspects detained without trial in Britain could be free within days if hearings today are successful. Lawyers for two of the men in Belmarsh and Woodhill are to go before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission this morning to ask for bail.

The 11 suspects have been held for up to four years without trial in what the law lords ruled last month was unlawful detention. This will be the first time their cases are considered since that landmark ruling.

At the weekend, reports said Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, had been warned by the Government's legal adviser, the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, that his proposals to replace the former legislation with a form of house arrest could be overturned by the courts on human rights grounds.

Success by the two detainees - an Algerian known as "P" and a north African asylum-seeker known as "A" - today could have a major impact on the other cases. If the Home Office does not oppose, the men are likely to be granted bail though they will probably be held until conditions are decided. Even if the Government does object, the judge could still grant bail in light of the law lords' ruling.

The House of Lords criticised the Government's emergency terrorism powers and said detaining foreign nationals indefinitely without trial by using secret evidence breached their human rights.

Mr Clarke then announced plans for control orders. Suspects would be subject to curfews, tagging and house arrest with restricted communication. Civil rights campaigners immediately objected. But the Home Secretary said the detainees in Belmarsh and Woodhill would remain in jail "between now and when the new legislation is in place".

Lawyers for the men are expected to argue today that they should be freed because Mr Clarke has accepted the law lords' ruling. The judge could also grant bail pending the new legislation coming into force. If released before that the two detainees are likely to be the subject of strict bail conditions, similar to house arrest.

The only suspect to be released so far, an Algerian-born 35-year-old known as "G", wears an electronic tag, has restricted access to his family and is forbidden from using the internet. Judges ordered his release on bail in April after doctors raised health concerns.