Ten arrested in anti-terrorism raids 'linked to al-Qaeda planning'
From The Times
May 13, 2009
The men arrested during anti-terror raids across the North West last month included members of a British-based network linked to al-Qaeda attack planning, an immigration hearing was told yesterday.
All 12 of those who were detained in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire over a suspected bomb plot were released without charge.
The Home Office, however, is seeking to deport ten of them, all Pakistani nationals who are currently in immigration custody, on the ground that they pose a risk to national security.
Robin Tam, QC, representing the Home Secretary, said that there was a high risk that they would re-engage in their former activities if the men were released.
The ten are appealing against that decision. Four appeared before a Special Immigrations Appeals Commission hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, at which their lawyers applied unsuccessfully for bail and claimed that despite an extensive police investigation there was no evidence that the men were involved in extremism.
The arrests, on April 8, were brought forward after Bob Quick, the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner and Britains most senior anti-terrorism officer, revealed details of the operation by accident.
Stephanie Harrison, representing one of the men, who can be identified only as XC, told the commission that given the high profile of the arrests and the events before them one cannot exclude political expediency as a factor in the decision to deport the men rather than simply release them.
Not a single piece of actual physical evidence has been produced against her client, she said.
Sibghat Kadri QC, representing Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, said that he was a genuine student who is was in Britain with the sole purpose of obtaining a Masters degree. He said that during lengthy police interviews his client was never told of the substance of any allegations against him.
Mr Kadri said that Mr Khgan's arrest by the UK Border Agency immediately after he was released without charge by the police was causing a great deal of concern and unrest among both the Muslim community in the United Kingdom and the wider international community. He said: Any miscarriage of justice will cause irreparable damage to race relations and consequently to the national security of the United Kingdom.
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