British court rules alleged terrorists may be tortured in Pakistan

May 18th, 2010 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 18 (DPA) Two Pakistani students who were arrested - but never charged - in Britain on suspicion of terrorism will not be deported to Pakistan because of fears over their possible torture and ill-treatment, a British immigration tribunal ruled Tuesday.
Abid Naseer and Ahmed Faraz Khan, both in their 20s, were among more than a dozen men arrested in a massive anti-terrorism raid in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool in April 2009.

They were suspected of having plotted a “mass casualty attack,” possibly on a shopping centre, but never charged because of lack of evidence. No explosives or bomb-making materials were ever found.

Tuesday, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a body set up as a result of human rights legislation, ruled that they could not be deported.

At the same time, SIAC ruled said that Naseer was an “Al Qaeda operative who posed and still poses a serious threat to the national security to the UK,” while Khan had been “willing to participate” in the alleged plans.

A third man, Shoaib Khan, who has returned to Pakistan, also won his appeal against exclusion from Britain.

The government’s new Home Secretary, Theresa May, said she was disappointed with the decision, but would not appeal. “As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK. We are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity,” May said.

In their ruling, judge John Mitting and two colleagues said they could not accept that a “sufficient safeguard” existed against prohibited ill-treatment of the men on return.

“Despite the restoration of a democratically-elected parliament and government, after eight years of military rule, Pakistan remains a state dominated by its military and intelligence agencies,” said the ruling.

“There is a long and well-documented history of disappearances, illegal detention and of the torture and ill-treatment of those detained, usually to produce information, a confession or compliance.”

Alex Carlile, a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, and Britain’s ombudsman for terrorist legislation, said it would be a “shocking situation” if Britain and Pakistan - as friendly nations - were “not able to guarantee the safety of people sent to each other’s countries”.

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