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Government loses control orders appeal

29 July 2010

Terrorism suspects who were made subject to control orders will be able to sue for damages after the Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed a decision that the orders were a breach of human rights.

Two men, referred to as AE and AF, have fought a two-year legal battle over the restrictions contained in the orders, which were in force for three and a half years. These initially included an 18-hour curfew together with other restrictions on who the men could contact. Although both were said to be linked to Al Qaeda or other Islamist extremists, no charges have been brought against either man.

In earlier litigation last year the then Home Secretary refused to disclose secret intelligence against the men, in order to protect the workings of counter-terrorism officers and MI5.

The Home Secretary then agreed to revoke the orders, but the High Court went further and quashed them on the basis that the restrictions were legally flawed because the Government had not met the requirements for more open evidence.

The Court of Appeal refused permission for the Government to appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Government intends to apply direct to that court for leave to appeal.

A Home Office spokesperson said the department had already made clear its intention to review the control order system while taking whatever steps necessary to protect the public.

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