Enemies of the state?

Four men deprived of their liberty for four years on suspicion of being international terrorists disclose today that they have not once been questioned by police or security services since being arrested.

The four, who were among 16 suspects detained without trial under post-11 September terror legislation, later overturned by the law lords, give harrowing accounts of the treatment they have suffered. All are now under virtual house arrest. Although three face deportation, The Independent has learnt that there is no prospect of the men ever being questioned over the offences they are alleged to have committed.

In interviews with Amnesty International, the four – three Algerians and a Palestinian – say their detentions have harmed their physical and mental health. They also complain that their treatment has had a devastating impact on their wives and families.

The men were interned in Belmarsh jail in south-east London – which has been called Britain’s Guantanamo Bay – and other high security prisons in conditions consistently condemned by human rights organisations. Their detentions were ruled illegal by the law lords a year ago and they have since been released on control orders with tough restrictions on leaving home.

Three were re-arrested in August under immigration powers pending deportation and released by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act (Siac) in October on very strict bail conditions amounting to house arrest. One of them told Amnesty: “We’ve been moving from one nightmare to another.”

Independent, 15 December 2005