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Bachir Mohammed reunited with family

by Adam Morris
Source: The Scotsman

A TERROR suspect who was a day away from being deported to face an uncertain future in his homeland has been freed to be reunited with his family.Edinburgh man Bachir Mohammed was held in custody for almost a month after being detained on terrorism charges in Stranraer, as he embarked on a sightseeing trip to Northern Ireland.

The 45-year-old father-of-two – who is crippled after contracting polio when he was a child – has lived in the Capital for six years and is in the process of applying for asylum.

Although he had just acquired a private taxi licence and had a permit to work in the UK, he was arrested and then held at Dungavel detention centre in Lanarkshire.

He was due to be flown back to Algeria last Sunday, but earned an eleventh-hour reprieve when his lawyer successfully fought his case in court.

However, he was still flown to London and held in the Colnbrook Detention Centre, near Heathrow, until last Thursday.

He is now understood to have been reunited with his family in the Capital.

A source close to Mr Bachir said: "He will be looking to join up with his family as soon as he can, sort out his status, and get back to living like a citizen of Edinburgh again."

Interrogators had accused Mr Bachir of having links with the Islamic Salvation Front through his work with the Algerian community in Britain, something he vehemently denies.

Richard Haley, a spokesman for Scotland Against Criminalising Communities – the charity which has campaigned on Mr Bachir's behalf – today said he was delighted at the news.

He said: "This is great news for him, but I don't understand why, when they knew he wasn't being flown back, he got taken to London nonetheless.

"It is totally bizarre, and the fact he was kept in Dungavel for so long, away from his life, circumstances and family seems now to be wrong as well."

Mr Bachir, who lived in the Craigmount area before moving to Leith Walk, married his wife, Nacera, in the city and also hadhis two children, Safia, two, and six-month-old Hafsa, born here.

He has suffered serious medical complications as a result of his polio and has had extensive surgery.

His latest operation enabled him to drive and he got a taxi licence and was awaiting a suitable car to use.

However, his plans were cut short when he was accused of being a terrorist as he waited to go on a driving holiday to Northern Ireland on February 17.

Despite his pleas that he would be killed if he returned to his homeland, proceedings went ahead to have him deported.

He said at the time: "When people like me who have criticised the regime go back there, we can just disappear."