Three UK terrorism suspects flee "control orders"

Reuters

Three suspects held under controversial British anti-terrorism "control orders" have absconded this week, police said on Wednesday, an embarrassing blow for a key plank of Tony Blair's security strategy.

The announcement, following the disappearances of at least two other suspects last year, means that more than a quarter of those subject to the controversial orders -- imposed on suspects who are not charged with a crime -- are now missing.

The British prime minister introduced the orders, under which suspects are electronically tagged and subjected to a range of restrictions, after courts threw out Blair's measures to jail suspects indefinitely without charge.

"This is yet another hammer blow for the increasingly discredited system of control orders," said Nick Clegg, home affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats.

The center-right Conservatives, who support the orders, said the government was nonetheless failing to keep the public safe.

London's Metropolitan Police took the extraordinary step of naming the three abscondees and releasing pictures of them. Suspects under control orders are usually entitled to anonymity because they have not been convicted of a crime.

The three were named as Lamine Adam, 26, Ibrahim Adam, 20, and Cerie Bullivant, 24. The Adams were both born in Algeria and were described as of North African origin. Bullivant was born in Britain and listed as white.

Police said the three may be travelling together. Members of the public were told not to approach them.

Under the orders terrorism suspects can no longer be jailed without charge but can be subjected to a range of measures up to virtual house arrest.

Suspects are frequently confined to their homes for much of the day, required to wear electronic tags, obliged to check in with police, forbidden to use computers or telephones and banned from meeting people without permission.

The orders must be imposed by a special court, but the suspects are not permitted to see evidence against them and the authorities do not have to prove they are guilty of a crime.

Two other suspects on control orders who disappeared last year have not been found. According to the Home Office, 17 people are being monitored under the program, including the three who absconded this week but not two who fled last year


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