Telegraph : Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pakistani men 'part of al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain'

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | May 13, 2009

Ten Pakistani men released without charge after an investigation into an alleged plot to bomb shopping centres in Manchester were part of an al-Qaeda network planning attacks in Britain and should be deported, a tribunal has heard.

The men were arrested on April 8 after former Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick entered Downing Street with details of the operation against the men visible under his arm.

None of the men were charged with any crime but the government launched an attempt to have the men deported. ?THIS OK? [sic!]

Their lawyers are objecting to the deportation orders, arguing that they should be freed to continue their studies.

Robin Tam QC for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in London: "All the applicants were members of a UK based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning.

"Each therefore poses a risk to national security and deportation would be considered in the national good."

Mr Tam said there was a "high risk they would re-engage in their former activity to the detriment of national security" and there was a risk they would abscond if granted bail.

All the group were "young single men with no close family ties to the UK and each claims to have been a student", Mr Tam added.

Three of the men, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, waived their rights to anonymity at the hearing.

The SIAC panel considered evidence behind closed doors before refusing bail for the three named men, along with a fourth, "XC."

Sibghat Kadri QC for Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, said the Pakistani High Commissioner in London had claimed the operation against the men was a "hoax" and added: "Other than what he was told upon arrest, that he was suspected to be a terrorist, he has never been informed of the substance of any allegations against him.

"During various interviews he was subjected to intensive interrogation. He was asked mostly about his association with friends, going to the mosque, meeting various friends and taking photographs."

He added that despite the police seizing computers, a TV and clothing which were subjected to forensic examination, "not a shred of evidence was found."

He added: "This case does not involve the liberty of the applicant but the wider question of trust that the community can repose in the security services in a multi-racial society and the subsequent faith in the Secretary of State to make a decision based on justice rather than fear of political failure."