Al-Qaeda terrorists sue UK over claims MI5 was complicit in their torture at hands of Pakistani security services.
UK DAILY MAIL Two Al-Qaeda terrorists have launched an attempt to have their convictions quashed on human rights grounds.
One of the extremists, Salahuddin Amin, was jailed for life in 2007 for his role in a terrorist cell that plotted to kill thousands of people in a bomb attack on a British shopping centre. The second convicted terrorist, Rangzieb Ahmed, is the highest ranking member of Al-Qaeda yet to be put on trial in Britain.
The pair claimed MI5 was complicit in their torture by Pakistani security services, a claim that has already been rejected by British courts.
They have now taken their case to the European Court of Human Rights in a last-ditch attempt to be freed from jail. According to the Sunday Telegraph, officials at the European Court have allowed their application to go ahead rather than declaring it inadmissible, as they do with thousands of cases a year.
The Government must now respond to the claims the men’s human rights were breached during their prosecutions. If its explanation does not satisfy the court it will order a full hearing which, if successful, would almost certainly lead to the British courts being forced to quash the convictions.
It means the British taxpayer will foot further legal bills which are already estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It is yet another case which raises further questions about Strasbourg infringing Britain’s sovereignty and the way human rights legislation is being exploited by defence lawyers.
And this case is unique because it means European judges will have to decide on a point of fact whether the pair were tortured with the complicity of British security forces – rather than on a point of law – which is what the Strasbourg court traditionally considers.
Leading barrister Lord Carlile, told the Sunday Telegraph Strasbourg’s interference in the case already amounted to a significant and ‘unacceptable’ departure by European judges by considering issues that should be left to British courts to decide.
The QC, who until last year served as the Government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said that if the case went ahead he believed it would be the first time terrorist convictions had been challenged at Strasbourg in this way.
After a 12-month trial, Amin was convicted in 2007, along with four other men, of conspiring to bomb the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in Central London. They also talked of attacking the gas or electricity network and Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions.
The cell, led by Omar Khyam, had bought 1,300lb of ammonium nitrate fertiliser from an agricultural merchant to prepare for their attacks. Amin was said to have provided the terrorists with a formula to make the bombs.
Amin’s lawyers allege the British authorities knew that incriminating evidence against him had been obtained through torture. In paperwork submitted to the EU court Amin claims MI5 were complicit in his torture by Pakistani security agents, whom he alleges used pliers to remove three of his fingernails.
Ahmed, 37, the second terrorist who was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, was at the centre of Al-Qaeda’s global web and had links with every British terrorist cell including the July 7 and July 21 plotters. He was the first person to be convicted of ‘directing terrorism’.
He alleges MI5 allowed him to leave Britain for Pakistan and tipped off intelligence services there so that he could be arrested in 2006 and tortured.
He claims Britain was complicit in his torture and that he was denied a fair trial because it was ‘informed by the interrogation undertaken in Pakistan’ and he was denied access to material after a public interest immunity certificate was granted in the case.