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UK court cites torture fear in ordering release of Libyans slated for deportation

[JURIST] A UK special court ruled on Friday that two Libyan men suspected of involvement in terrorist activities could not be deported to Libya [JURIST news archive], overriding an agreement between the two governments. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission [backgrounder] ordered [order text, PDF] the two men released on bail, citing concerns that they would face torture and be denied a fair trial in Libya. The ruling called into question a Memorandum of Understanding [press release] that London signed with Libya [JURIST report] in 2005 facilitating the deportation of suspected terrorists. According to the memorandum, similar to others signed with Jordan and Lebanon, deported suspects will be treated humanely. The Commission based its decision in part on the UK's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights [text].

The two men will be released from the maximum security prison under bail conditions, including a twelve-hour curfew, as the Commission stated that their continued detention might be illegal. The Home Office [official website] has announced its plans to appeal. According to Parliament member Lord Carlile [official website], the decision constitutes an improper review of executive foreign policy decisions by the judiciary. A UK court reached a similar decision in a separate case this week and ordered the release [JURIST report] of a Moroccan man accused of having connections to the September 11 hijackers. The Guardian has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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