On Thursday 18 Nov, two High Court judges issued a ruling rejecting Rachid Ramda's attempt to block the extradition. The ruling follows a High Court hearing in October. QC Edward Fitzgerald, had told the court that Rachid would not receive a fairt trial in France. he said that the extradition was "legally flawed" and involved "a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice."
Upholding the home secretary's decision that extradition should go ahead, Lord Justice Keene said: "This court is not persuaded that the secretary of state failed in his decision of April 5, 2005 to exercise properly his powers to order the claimant's return to France." Rachid's lawyers are now considering taking the case to the House of Lords.
Rachid is wanted in France in connection with a bombing on the Paris Metro in 1995. He denies any such connection. In 2002, two High Court judges quashed an extradition order signed by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett. They expressed concern that evidence against Rachid came from co-defendant Boualem Bensaid, said by his lawyers to have been tortured during interrogation while in French custody.
Rachid has been held in Belmarsh Prison without trial for ten years as a result of 9 successive French attempts to extradite him. While there, he has proved a lifeline for other detainees, who call him the "one-brother wonder." If he is handed over to France there is a strong possibility that he could be sent to Algeria to face torture or execution.
The 1995 Metro bombings are believed to have been carried out by Algeria's GIA, a supposedly anti-government group that has been so thoroughly infiltrated by the Algerian military that many people argue that it is no more than a government front. This picture of the GIA is not disputed by the Home Office. The Algerian military - who came to power following a coup launched to forestall an election victory by the Islamic Salvation Front - maintain strong links with the French security forces. The metro bombings are widely thought to have been an act of provocation intended to facilitate more overt French support for the Algerian military regime.