Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Control Orders like 'Being on Bail' for Terror Suspects

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Control Orders like 'Being on Bail' for Terror Suspects

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN BENTHAM

THE row over the disappearance of two terror suspects deepened today as the Government's terrorism watchdog warned that the "control orders" to which they had been subject were like being out on bail.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, whose job is to monitor the effectiveness of anti-terror legislation, said the public should "not be surprised" that the two men had gone on the run and further breaches were likely.

The peer said the Government had been prevented from imposing tougher controls on the suspects by a Law Lords judgement which had vetoed their detention without trial and by subsequent court rulings.

The Home Office is now considering an overhaul of anti-terror laws .

One man, an Iraqi, has been on the run since August.

The second, a Briton of Pakistani origin accused of wanting to fight coalition forces in Iraq, disappeared two weeks ago after climbing out of a window at a mental health unit in London. Critics said their cases were examples of Home Office incompetence.

Ministers hit back by saying they had been forced to place the men under "control orders" - a loose form of house arrest - rather than locking them up because of a Law Lords ruling that the previous policy of detaining terror suspects without trial in Belmarsh jail violated human rights laws.

That argument was backed up today by Lord Carlile, who told the Evening Standard the prohibition on imprisonment meant the curbs on the suspects were inevitably limited.

"Control orders are like a form of bail and nobody should be surprised if from time to time they are breached," he said.

"The Government was forced into the position of repealing the Belmarsh provisions and control orders were the answer, but, by definition, they are less restrictive.

"We can't have it both ways. …

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