BBC : Two terror suspects to be freed

Friday, July 17, 2009

Two terror suspects to be freed

July 17, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested in north west England in April accused of being part of an alleged terror plot are to be released.

Sultan Sher and Janus Khan were never charged but were due to be deported on the grounds of national security.

Seven of the 12 men who were arrested remain in custody awaiting deportation.

Mr Sher's solicitor called for an independent inquiry, saying his arrest and detention had been a "very serious" breach of human rights.

The released pair will be required to wear electronic tags as the Home Office still wants to deport them due to visa irregularities, the BBC understands.

Twelve students were arrested in the terror raids in Manchester and Liverpool, with three subsequently released.

'Robust measures'

The rest were put in prison pending deportation on the grounds of national security and their case, involving secret evidence they have not seen, is due back in court on 27 July.

The Home Office said it was not allowed to detain the men indefinitely.

"These individuals no longer meet the required criteria for detention on the grounds of national security. They are currently detained pending removal, but legally we cannot hold them indefinitely.

"We are therefore putting in place suitable and robust measures to ensure we are fully aware of their whereabouts as we progress their cases for removal."

Mohammed Ayub, solicitor for Sultan Sher, said the men had maintained they were not extremists or terrorists.

"Our clients were originally arrested in a blaze of publicity at gunpoint by the police. They were interviewed for 13 days and released into immigration detention without any criminal charges brought against them," he said.

"Our clients' plea of innocence is confirmed by the decision of the Home Office to firstly withdraw the intention to deport one of our clients on the grounds of national security and secondly to release him shortly.

"We believe that our original call for an independent inquiry into Operation Pathway has now been strengthened.

"We are of the opinion that lessons should be learnt as to how this investigation could have got it so terribly wrong and so that no other innocent person should have to suffer the ordeal that our clients have."