The deportation of three Algerian men accused of terrorism was halted by appeal court judges on Tuesday who ruled that the government could not be certain that they would be safe from torture after they were sent back.
Bizarrely, the reasons for this are too secret to disclose, the Court of Appeal ruled.
Evidence heard behind closed doors suggests that the human rights of one would be breached if he were returned to Algeria.
In the case of another man, acquitted two years ago in the so-called “ricin trial”, the appeal judges said more consideration should have been given to the risk that he might be tortured in Algeria.
The ruling is a setback for the government’s attempts to deport people on the strength of diplomatic assurances of proper treatment.
Gareth Peirce, the solicitor of two of the men, said the ruling was a “nightmare” for her clients. She said, “We have no idea of the court’s reasons. The case produces complete uncertainty.”
But, she added, it was a “red light” stopping the government sending people back to Algeria in the short term.
All three men will remain in custody.