Two Pakistan—origin al—Qaeda operatives who plotted to bomb targets in north—west England have won their appeals against deportation, despite a UK court accepting that they are a “threat” to the country.
A special immigration court said, Abid Naseer was an al—Qaeda operative but could not be deported because he faced torture or death back home in Pakistan.
Twenty—three—year—old Naseer was one of ten Pakistani students arrested last April as part of a massive counter—terrorism operation in Liverpool and Manchester.
Another student, Ahmad Faraz Khan, also 23, won his appeal on similar grounds.
Justice Mitting, in a written ruling, said, “For the reasons stated, 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.”
He added that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in London was allowing the appeal because the “issue of safety on return” made it impossible to deport Naseer to Pakistan.
Justice Mitting said that Faraz Khan could “safely be taken to have been willing to participate” in Naseer’s plans but that his appeal too was being allowed on the grounds of his safety on return.
They are being held at immigration removal centres but are expected to be released later today.
Lawyers for the new Home secretary Theresa May, said they would not be appealing against the ruling, handed down by Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
The security services believed the men were planning to attack within days of their arrest, but neither student was charged.
A third man, 21—year—old Shoaib Khan, who is already back in Pakistan, was cleared of any involvement in terrorism.
Abid Naseer and Ahmad Faraz Khan will be added to the list of other suspects in similar situations — men who are unwanted by the UK but, simultaneously, cannot be deported because they could be tortured.
The Home Secretary wants to place them under a control order, a form of house arrest that restricts their movements.