Jury anger over threat of torture

Jurors who acquitted four Algerians in the so-called “ricin plot” trial that ended at the Old Bailey last month have expressed outrage at the news that the government is seeking to deport three of the accused to Algeria. They have told the Guardian that they are very angry that their verdicts of not guilty appear to have been ignored, and fear that the men face torture or death if deported.

“If anyone has grounds for asylum in this country, it is these men,” said one of the jurors. “They would almost certainly be subjected to abuse, torture or worse if repatriated. We as a jury made a decision. To see the government disregarding our verdict and preparing to send them back to almost certain torture is horrifying. We would try to do anything to stop it.”

The jurors – who gave a robust defence of jury trials in terrorist cases – contacted the Guardian after reading a report last week that there were plans to deport to Algeria three of the acquitted men and others who were formally acquitted in a second trial that the prosecution abandoned.

Guardian, 21 May 2005