Britain cannot deport 'Al-Qaeda' Pakistani: court

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Pakistani man deemed an "Al-Qaeda operative" and a threat to Britain's security cannot be deported due to worries for his safety, an immigration court ruled Tuesday.

Abid Naseer, 24, was alleged to have plotted "mass casualty" attacks in northwest England and still poses a threat to Britain, the court said, but nonetheless granted his appeal against deportation.

Another Pakistani man, Ahmed Faraz Khan, 26, who was branded as "willing to participate" in Naseer's plans, also won his deportation appeal on the same grounds.

The pair were among five Pakistani men who were arrested in counter-terrorism raids in April last year but were never charged.

In his written tribunal ruling, judge John Mitting said: "We are satisfied that Naseer was an Al-Qaeda operative who posed and still poses a serious threat to the national security of the UK and that... it is conducive to the public good that he should be deported."

However, the tribunal upheld the appeal because "the issue of safety on return" made it impossible to deport Naseer to Pakistan.

Mitting added that Faraz Khan could "safely be taken to have been willing to participate" in Naseer's plans but that his appeal likewise was being allowed on the grounds of his safety on return.

"Despite the restoration of a democratically-elected parliament and government, after eight years of military rule, Pakistan remains a state dominated by its military and intelligence agencies," Mitting said.

"There is a long and well-documented history of disappearances, illegal detention and of the torture and ill-treatment of those detained, usually to produce information, a confession or compliance."

Home Secretary Theresa May said she was "disappointed" by the rulings.

"Protecting the public is the government's top priority," the interior minister said.

"As the court agreed, they are a security risk to the UK. We are now taking all possible measures to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activity."

A third Pakistani man, Shoaib Khan, 31, also won his appeal against deportation. The tribunal was satisfied that he was not a "knowing party" to Naseer's plans.

Two others, Tariq Ur Rehman, 39, and Abdul Wahab Khan, 27, who have returned to Pakistan, lost their appeal to return to Britain.

The ruling said Wahab Khan was likely a committed "Islamist extremist" and that he and Rehman were "knowing participants" in Naseer's plot.

The five men were arrested in Manchester and Liverpool in northwest England.

The security forces were forced to swoop early after the police head of counter-terrorism inadvertently showed photographers details of the planned raids.

© 2010 AFP

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