Socialist Worker

Release shows 'control orders' programme is in disarray

Issue No. 2168

The government was forced to release a man it had held for over three years under its draconian “control orders” system on Monday.

This blow to the attacks on basic civil liberties occurred on the same day that three men were convicted of an airplane bomb plot.

In the case of the man, “AF”, who has dual British-Libyan nationality, the government reluctantly agreed to lift the order rather than release the secret evidence it claims it holds against him.

Control orders are a form of detention without trial that restrict people’s freedom and include house arrest or curfews. AF had been confined to his home for up to 16 hours a day.

The Law Lords said in June that the control orders imposed against AF and two other suspects were unfair.

The government uses the orders to detain people indefinitely in cases where it has no evidence it could use in court against them.

Suspects are not allowed to know the secret evidence held against them.

The decision to rescind AF’s order came days after another man, who won European Court action on secret evidence, was allowed to leave the country.

There are about 20 control orders in force. Some 40 people have been held under the orders since they began.

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Article information

Tue 8 Sep 2009, 19:38 BST
Issue No. 2168
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