MI5 still blocking terror suspects' release

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The Independent Online

The Security Service and ministers are resisting attempts to release 11 North African terror suspects on bail, despite last month's ruling that their imprisonment is illegal.

The Security Service and ministers are resisting attempts to release 11 North African terror suspects on bail, despite last month's ruling that their imprisonment is illegal.

The fate of the men being held without trial as alleged terrorists at Belmarsh in south-east London and other prisons could be decided this week when a panel of judges, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, meets to discuss granting the detainees an early release on bail.

But MI5 and the Home Office are attempting to prevent their release before the Government puts in place powers to detain suspected terrorists under house arrest.

Ministers are highlighting earlier judgements by the judges' commission, known as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), that the detainees are a serious security risk, proven to have links to North African Islamist terror groups. In a week-long series of SIAC hearings, starting tomorrow, judges are expected to rule on the impact of last month's damning criticism by nine Law Lords of the Government's emergency anti- terrorism powers.

The House of Lords said detaining foreign nationals without trial by using secret evidence breached their human rights.

Yesterday Gareth Peirce, the lawyer of two of the three detainees, said: "The game is up. The Home Office has no alternative whatsoever but to agree that everyone should be on bail. It is inevitable, and the Government has no escape from that fact."