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Three to be deported to torture, one safe

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled on 14 May that three other men known for their own protection only by the initials U, W and Z - can be deported to Algeria from Britain, although they can submit appeals.

Human rights groups believe that the men face a serious risk of abuse, including torture, if sent home.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty welcomed the rulings.

"The court has once again upheld our view that it is safe to deport such individuals to Algeria and accepted that diplomatic assurances from Algeria are valid and can be relied upon to ensure a person who threatens the UK can be deported safely," he said in a statement.

On the same day, another Algerian man won an appeal against being deported. SIAC dismissed the government's argument that he posed a threat to national security.

Mouloud Sihali was acquitted in April 2005 of invovement in the so-called "ricin" plot, but the government notified him in September that year it intended to expel him.

He described his ordeal since then, including electronic tagging and tight restrictions on his ability to make phone calls, use the Internet or stray beyond a short distance of his home, as a form of "torture".

"This is 19 months out of my life, I will never get it back," Sihali told reporters outside SIAC

"It has destroyed me, torn me to pieces ... I thought this happens only in a third world country where there is no justice."

Statement from three jurors in Mouloud Sihali's trial

Today is a great day for Mouloud Sihali, his supporters and for justice.

As a jury, we sat through an incredibly lengthy and expensive trial, assessed all the evidence and came back with a verdict of Not Guilty on all the charges levelled against Mouloud Sihali. After the trial, several of the jury were shocked when the government proposed the deportation of all the cleared defendants in the Ricin Trial back to Algeria, to face an unknown and potentially dangerous fate. However, we were absolutely appalled when Mouloud Sihali was re-arrested and thrown into jail, without any charges proffered against him. His treatment since his release from jail has angered and dismayed us; under a strict bail regime he has been robbed of his freedom, treated unfairly and held under draconian conditions that shame us as a nation. Only his immense inner strength, the support of his friends and, ultimately, the belief in his innocence has seen Mouloud through dark days of what amounts to psychological torture

Although we do not approve of the SIAC system, with its shadowy policy of closed court sessions and secret evidence, which the defendant and even his lawyers are not allowed to see, we are grateful that Justice Mitting and his colleagues have reached a sensible conclusion. Mouloud Sihali is judged not to be a threat to national security; something that we jurors have always firmly believed.

We hope now that Mouloud Sihali can be left to live his life in peace and at last has the freedom to make a choice as to what he does with his future, without the damning label of "terrorist" or "threat to national security" hung around his neck.

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