Metro bombing suspect may face trial in France

17th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 17 (AFP) - Algerian-born terror suspect Rachid Ramda on Thursday lost his British court legal challenge against his extradition to France to face trial over the deadly 1995 Paris metro bombings.

LONDON, Nov 17 (AFP) - Algerian-born terror suspect Rachid Ramda on Thursday lost his British court legal challenge against his extradition to France to face trial over the deadly 1995 Paris metro bombings.

Two judges rejected claims that moves in April by interior minister Charles Clarke to deport the 35-year-old were legally flawed.

Ramda has fought off several extradition requests over the last ten years and is currently the longest-held detainee in Britain in an extradition procedure.

The ruling appears to be the beginning of the end for his marathon campaign against facing trial in France.

He is suspected of having financed, with others, the attack at the Saint-Michel train station in Paris in July 1995, which left eight people dead and 150 injured.

He was arrested in London in November 1995 and Paris has been trying ever since to extradite him.

Upholding home secretary Clarke's decision, judge David Keene said: "This court is not persuaded that the Secretary of State failed in his decision ... to exercise properly his powers to order the claimant's return to France."

Keen said Clarke "had sufficient information before him" to exercise his statutory and general discretionary powers, "and the conclusions which he reached were not irrational.

"His decision was not ultra vires (outside his powers) and this application for judicial review is, in consequence, dismissed."

Ramda was not present at the High Court in central London for the decision.

His lawyers are considering taking their case to the British parliament's upper House of Lords for a final ruling.

Ramda, alleged to be a member of the Algerian militant organisation Groupe Islamique Arme, has been detained at the high-security Belmarsh jail in south London.

His supporters have argued against his imprisonment, saying he was suffering declining mental and physical health.

In a letter to supporters last October, Ramda described himself as "languishing in the corners of the British Gulag".

British prime minister Tony Blair has argued that such lengthy, expensive cases are "completely unacceptable".

Clarke announced a crackdown on foreign terror suspects in Britain in the wake of the July 7 bombings on London's Underground train network and a bus which killed 56 people, the bombers included.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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