Britain apologises for ricin blunder

LONDON: The British Home Office has been forced to apologise to 10 men placed under controversial anti-terrorist control orders after it linked them to the ricin plot in London. In an embarrassing letter to the men, the Government claims that it made a ``clerical error'' when it said the grounds for emergency restriction imposed on each of the alleged international terrorists was that they ``belonged to and have provided support for a network of north African extremists directly involved in terrorist planning in the U.K., including the use of toxic chemicals''. The fact that the control orders attempted to connect the 10 men to the ricin plot will cast further doubt on the validity of the secret evidence the Government claims it has on them. On Friday, a Home Office spokesman said: ``Basically, there was a clerical error in the initial order in that the same basis for issue was given in all of the orders. This was noticed shortly afterwards and acted on immediately. It did not affect the validity of the order." —

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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