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Terror Suspect Wins Appeal Case To Stay In UK

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The Court of Appeal said the suspect's claim for refugee status should be considered
The Court of Appeal said the suspect's claim for refugee status should be considered

An Algerian sentenced to death following a conviction for "involvement" in an airport bombing in north Africa 20 years ago has won the latest round of a legal fight to stay in the UK.

The Court of Appeal said senior immigration judges should consider the terror suspect's claim for refugee status again after hearing how he had moved to France, then been expelled and made his way to Britain.

Judges said the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal had "erred in law" when considering the man's case at a hearing in 2010 and must rethink, the Press Association reported.

One appeal judge said many people may find the case "astonishing".

Legislation said people might not be given refugee status if they had committed a "serious non-political crime abroad", judges heard.

The immigration tribunal said it was satisfied that the man "did not come within the provisions" governing refugee status.

But the Appeal Court on Monday said immigration judges had not discussed the "seriousness" of the man's offence or fully analysed the "appropriate threshold of seriousness".

Three Appeal Court judges did not name the man but said he was born in 1963 and was Algerian.

Judges said he had been convicted in his absence in Algeria of involvement in a bombing at an airport in Algiers in 1992 - and sentenced to death.

A report by the Reuters news agency said the bombing killed nine people and wounded more than 100. The report said the Algerian government blamed the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).

The Court of Appeal had been told that the man left Algeria for France shortly after the bombing but a French appeal court had found that he had been "knowingly part of a criminal conspiracy ... formed with a view to committing terrorist acts".

Judges said the French court had expelled the man from the country in 2001 and he had travelled to the UK and claimed asylum.

Home Office officials had refused the asylum claim and immigration judges had dismissed the man's challenge to that decision.

But appeal judges Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Rix and Lord Justice Sullivan today said the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal should hear the case again.

Lord Justice Ward said, in a written judgment handed down in London today following an appeal hearing in January, that the case may cause astonishment.

"It may seem astonishing to many that the French courts were able to exclude this appellant but the United Kingdom may be obliged to tolerate his presence in our midst," said Lord Justice Ward. "How could that come about?"

But he added: "I am ... constrained to allow the appeal and would remit the matter back to the tribunal for further hearing."

Algeria had applied to have the man extradited but UK ministers decided not to proceed with extradition because the "evidential basis was not made out" - and the man was released from custody in 2002, judges heard.