Terror suspect wins ruling on UK control order

The UK’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a control order against an Ethiopian terrorist suspect breached his human rights by forcing him to live 150 miles (240 KMs) away from his family.


The suspect, identified only as AP, was ordered to live under a 16-hour curfew in the English Midlands to keep him away from so-called Islamist extremists in London. But in an appeal to the Supreme Court, seven judges agreed unanimously that the control order isolated him from his family and breached his right to liberty.

Delivering the verdict, one of the judges, Sir John Dyson, said the home secretary must find out the effect of a control order before imposing it.

Control orders were introduced in 2005 to restrict the movements of terrorist suspects, where there is considered to be inadequate evidence to gain a prosecution.

The orders, which include virtual house arrest, were originally only issued against foreign suspects until it was extended to British nationals after it was ruled to be discriminatory.

Last year, the House of Lords also ruled that the use of control orders based on secret evidence were unlawful and subsequently led to a number of control orders being lifted.

Britain’s new coalition government has yet to decide on the existing control order regime, with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats previously voting against their introduction when they were in opposition.

Earlier this year, the joint committee on human rights followed the all-party home affairs committee in urging the government to abandon their use, saying that they cost too much and caused “untold damage to the UK’s international reputation.”

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