UK: Two "terrorist" suspects, held for months in prison, freed by the court for lack of evidence



The courts have freed two "terrorist" suspects who were held in custody for months because of lack of evidence. On Tuesday, Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian pilot settled in the UK for years, was freed by Belmarsh magistrates court because the US failed to produce any evidence to substantiate their claim that Raissi was a key suspect who trained the people in the 11 September attacks in the US. Raissi was held for five month in the high-security Belmarsh prison.

On 15 February Abdelghani Ait Haddad, an Algerian, was freed after the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, stopped the extradition case against him. Raissi had been held for three months in Belmarsh high security prison following a demand from Algeria that he be extradited on charges connected with a bombing at Algiers airport in 1992 which killed nine people.

The evidence against Haddad turned out to be based solely on claims by another Algerian who was tortured during interrogation before being executed in 1993.

Haddad's lawyer Gareth Peirce said that the Crown Prosecution Service and British officials involvement was one of "clear deceit":

"The case raised fundamental questions about the role of crown prosecutors and about evidence against people interned in Britain on terrorist charges.

Mr Haddad is an entirely innocent man who has lost everything, he has no place to go, no money and no accommodation"

Raissi freed on 12 February: Raissi Interview with Raissi: Guardian
Haddad freed 15 February: Guardian

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