CASE OF A. AND OTHERS v. THE UNITED KINGDOM
(Application no. 3455/05)
19 February 2009
This judgment is final but may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of A. and Others v. the United Kingdom,
The European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Michael O'Boyle, Deputy Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 21 May 2008 and on 4 February 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last mentioned date:
There appeared before the Court:
(a) for the Government
Mr D. Walton, Agent,
Mr P. Sales, QC
Ms C. Ivimy, Counsel,
Mr S. Braviner-Roman,
Ms K. Chalmers,
Mr E. Adams,
Mr J. Adutt,
Mr L. Smith, Advisers;
(b) for the applicants
Ms G. Pierce,
Ms M. Willis Stewart,
Mr D. Guedalla, Solicitors,
Mr B. Emmerson, QC,
Mr R. Husain,
Mr D. Friedman, Counsel.
The Court heard addresses by Mr Emmerson and Mr Sales and their answers in reply to questions put by the Court.
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. The derogation
“Public emergency in the United Kingdom
The terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on 11th September 2001 resulted in several thousand deaths, including many British victims and others from 70 different countries. In its resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001), the United Nations Security Council recognised the attacks as a threat to international peace and security.
The threat from international terrorism is a continuing one. In its resolution 1373 (2001), the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, required all States to take measures to prevent the commission of terrorist attacks, including by denying safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist attacks.
There exists a terrorist threat to the United Kingdom from persons suspected of involvement in international terrorism. In particular, there are foreign nationals present in the United Kingdom who are suspected of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of international terrorism, of being members of organisations or groups which are so concerned or of having links with members of such organisations or groups, and who are a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom.
As a result, a public emergency, within the meaning of Article 15(1) of the Convention, exists in the United Kingdom.
The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
As a result of the public emergency, provision is made in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, inter alia, for an extended power to arrest and detain a foreign national which will apply where it is intended to remove or deport the person from the United Kingdom but where removal or deportation is not for the time being possible, with the consequence that the detention would be unlawful under existing domestic law powers. The extended power to arrest and detain will apply where the Secretary of State issues a certificate indicating his belief that the person's presence in the United Kingdom is a risk to national security and that he suspects the person of being an international terrorist. That certificate will be subject to an appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ('SIAC'), established under the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997, which will have power to cancel it if it considers that the certificate should not have been issued. There will be an appeal on a point of law from a ruling by SIAC. In addition, the certificate will be reviewed by SIAC at regular intervals. SIAC will also be able to grant bail, where appropriate, subject to conditions. It will be open to a detainee to end his detention at any time by agreeing to leave the United Kingdom.
The extended power of arrest and detention in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 is a measure which is strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. It is a temporary provision which comes into force for an initial period of 15 months and then expires unless renewed by the Parliament. Thereafter, it is subject to annual renewal by Parliament. If, at any time, in the Government's assessment, the public emergency no longer exists or the extended power is no longer strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, then the Secretary of State will, by Order, repeal the provision.
Domestic law powers of detention (other than under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001)
The Government has powers under the Immigration Act 1971 ('the 1971 Act') to remove or deport persons on the ground that their presence in the United Kingdom is not conducive to the public good on national security grounds. Persons can also be arrested and detained under Schedules 2 and 3 to the 1971 Act pending their removal or deportation. The courts in the United Kingdom have ruled that this power of detention can only be exercised during the period necessary, in all the circumstances of the particular case, to effect removal and that, if it becomes clear that removal is not going to be possible within a reasonable time, detention will be unlawful (R. v Governor of Durham Prison, ex parte Singh  All ER 983).
Article 5(1)(f) of the Convention
It is well established that Article 5(1)(f) permits the detention of a person with a view to deportation only in circumstances where 'action is being taken with a view to deportation' (Chahal v United Kingdom (1996) 23 EHRR 413 at paragraph 112). In that case the European Court of Human Rights indicated that detention will cease to be permissible under Article 5(1)(f) if deportation proceedings are not prosecuted with due diligence and that it was necessary in such cases to determine whether the duration of the deportation proceedings was excessive (paragraph 113).
In some cases, where the intention remains to remove or deport a person on national security grounds, continued detention may not be consistent with Article 5(1)(f) as interpreted by the Court in the Chahal case. This may be the case, for example, if the person has established that removal to their own country might result in treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention. In such circumstances, irrespective of the gravity of the threat to national security posed by the person concerned, it is well established that Article 3 prevents removal or deportation to a place where there is a real risk that the person will suffer treatment contrary to that article. If no alternative destination is immediately available then removal or deportation may not, for the time being, be possible even though the ultimate intention remains to remove or deport the person once satisfactory arrangements can be made. In addition, it may not be possible to prosecute the person for a criminal offence given the strict rules on the admissibility of evidence in the criminal justice system of the United Kingdom and the high standard of proof required.
Derogation under Article 15 of the Convention
The Government has considered whether the exercise of the extended power to detain contained in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 may be inconsistent with the obligations under Article 5(1) of the Convention. As indicated above, there may be cases where, notwithstanding a continuing intention to remove or deport a person who is being detained, it is not possible to say that 'action is being taken with a view to deportation' within the meaning of Article 5(1)(f) as interpreted by the Court in the Chahal case. To the extent, therefore, that the exercise of the extended power may be inconsistent with the United Kingdom's obligations under Article 5(1), the Government has decided to avail itself of the right of derogation conferred by Article 15(1) of the Convention and will continue to do so until further notice.”
The derogation notice then set out the provisions of Part 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Bill 2001.
B. The derogation proceedings
SIAC further held that the fact that the objective of protecting the public from international terrorists could possibly have been achieved by alternative methods did not demonstrate that the measures actually adopted were not strictly necessary. Moreover, since the purpose of the detention was the protection of the United Kingdom, the fact that the detainee was at liberty to leave demonstrated that the measures were properly tailored to the state of emergency.
SIAC rejected the applicants' complaints under Article 3 of the Convention. It held that, insofar as they related to conditions of detention, the applicants should bring proceedings in the ordinary civil courts, and that SIAC had no jurisdiction to determine such a complaint as it was not a “derogation issue”. It further saw no merit in the applicants' argument that detention for an indefinite period was contrary to Article 3. On this point, SIAC held that the detention was not indefinite, since it was governed by the time limits of the 2001 Act itself and since the 2001 Act provided that each applicant's certification was subject to automatic review by SIAC every six months. In any event, the mere fact that no term had yet been fixed for preventive detention did not give rise to a breach of Article 3.
SIAC did not accept that Article 6 applied to the certification process. The certification of each applicant as a suspected international terrorist was not a “charge” but instead a statement of suspicion and the proceedings before SIAC were not for the determination of a criminal charge. Furthermore, there was no relevant civil right at issue and Article 6 did not apply in its civil limb either.
SIAC did, however, rule that the derogation was unlawful because the relevant provisions of the 2001 Act unjustifiably discriminated against foreign nationals, in breach of Article 14 of the Convention. The powers of the 2001 Act could properly be confined to non-nationals only if the threat stemmed exclusively, or almost exclusively, from non-nationals and the evidence did not support that conclusion. In paragraphs 94-95 of its judgment SIAC held:
“94. If there is to be an effective derogation from the right to liberty enshrined in Article 5 in respect of suspected international terrorists - and we can see powerful arguments in favour of such a derogation - the derogation ought rationally to extend to all irremovable suspected international terrorists. It would properly be confined to the alien section of the population only if, as [counsel for the appellants] contends, the threat stems exclusively or almost exclusively from that alien section.
95. But the evidence before us demonstrates beyond argument that the threat is not so confined. There are many British nationals already identified - mostly in detention abroad - who fall within the definition of 'suspected international terrorists', and it was clear from the submissions made to us that in the opinion of the [Secretary of State] there are others at liberty in the United Kingdom who could be similarly defined. In those circumstances we fail to see how the derogation can be regarded as other than discriminatory on the grounds of national origin.”
SIAC thus quashed the derogation order of 11 November 2001 and issued a declaration of incompatibility in respect of section 23 of the 2001 Act under section 4 of the 1998 Act (see paragraph 94 below).
It adjourned the first seven applicants' individual appeals against certification (see paragraphs 24-69 below) pending the outcome of the Secretary of State's appeal and the applicants' cross-appeal on points of law against the above ruling.
It held that SIAC had been entitled to find that there was a public emergency threatening the life of the nation. However, contrary to the view of SIAC, it held that the approach adopted by the Secretary of State could be objectively justified. There was a rational connection between the detention of non-nationals who could not be deported because of fears for their safety, and the purpose which the Secretary of State wished to achieve, which was to remove non-nationals who posed a threat to national security. Moreover, the applicants would be detained for no longer than was necessary before they could be deported or until the emergency was resolved or they ceased to be a threat to the country's safety. There was no discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the Convention, because British nationals suspected of being terrorists were not in an analogous situation to similarly suspected foreign nationals who could not be deported because of fears for their safety. Such foreign nationals did not have a right to remain in the country but only a right, for the time being, not to be removed for their own safety. The Court of Appeal added that it was well established in international law that, in some situations, States could distinguish between nationals and non-nationals, especially in times of emergency. It further concluded that Parliament had been entitled to limit the measures proposed so as to affect only foreign nationals suspected of terrorist links because it was entitled to reach the conclusion that detention of only the limited class of foreign nationals with which the measures were concerned was, in the circumstances, “strictly required” within the meaning of Article 15 of the Convention.
The Court of Appeal agreed with SIAC that the proceedings to appeal against certification were not “criminal” within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. It found, however, that the civil limb of Article 6 applied but that the proceedings were as fair as could reasonably be achieved. It further held that the applicants had not demonstrated that their detention amounted to a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
A majority of the Law Lords, expressly or impliedly, found that the applicants' detention under Part 4 of the 2001 Act did not fall within the exception to the general right of liberty set out in Article 5 § 1(f) of the Convention (see Lord Bingham, at paragraphs 8-9; Lord Hoffman, at paragraph 97; Lord Hope, at paragraphs 103-105; Lord Scott, at paragraph 155; Lord Rodger, at paragraph 163; Baroness Hale, at paragraph 222). Lord Bingham summarised the position in this way:
“9. ... A person who commits a serious crime under the criminal law of this country may of course, whether a national or a non-national, be charged, tried and, if convicted, imprisoned. But a non-national who faces the prospect of torture or inhuman treatment if returned to his own country, and who cannot be deported to any third country, and is not charged with any crime, may not under article 5(1)(f) of the Convention and Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 be detained here even if judged to be a threat to national security”.
“118. There is ample evidence within [the open] material to show that the government were fully justified in taking the view in November 2001 that there was an emergency threatening the life of the nation. ... [The] United Kingdom was at danger of attacks from the Al Qaeda network which had the capacity through its associates to inflict massive casualties and have a devastating effect on the functioning of the nation. This had been demonstrated by the events of 11 September 2001 in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. There was a significant body of foreign nationals in the United Kingdom who had the will and the capability of mounting co-ordinated attacks here which would be just as destructive to human life and to property. There was ample intelligence to show that international terrorist organisations involved in recent attacks and in preparation for other attacks of terrorism had links with the United Kingdom, and that they and others posed a continuing threat to this country. There was a growing body of evidence showing preparations made for the use of weapons of mass destruction in this campaign. ... [It] was considered [by the Home Office] that the serious threats to the nation emanated predominantly, albeit not exclusively, and more immediately from the category of foreign nationals.
119. The picture which emerges clearly from these statements is of a current state of emergency. It is an emergency which is constituted by the threat that these attacks will be carried out. It threatens the life of the nation because of the appalling consequences that would affect us all if they were to occur here. But it cannot yet be said that these attacks are imminent. On 15 October 2001 the Secretary of State said in the House of Commons that there was no immediate intelligence pointing to a specific threat to the United Kingdom: see Hansard (HC Debates, col 925). On 5 March 2002 this assessment of the position was repeated in the government's response to the Second Report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence on the Threat from Terrorism (HC 348, para 13) where it was stated that it would be wrong to say that there was evidence of a particular threat. I would not conclude from the material which we have seen that there was no current emergency. But I would conclude that the emergency which the threats constitute is of a different kind, or on a different level, from that which would undoubtedly ensue if the threats were ever to materialise. The evidence indicates that the latter emergency cannot yet be said to be imminent. It has to be recognised that, as the attacks are likely to come without warning, it may not be possible to identify a stage when they can be said to be imminent. This is an important factor, and I do not leave it out of account. But the fact is that the stage when the nation has to face that kind of emergency, the emergency of imminent attack, has not been reached”.
Lord Hoffman, who dissented, accepted that there was credible evidence of a threat of serious terrorist attack within the United Kingdom, but considered that it would not destroy the life of the nation, since the threat was not so fundamental as to threaten “our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community”. He concluded that “the real threat to the life of the nation ... comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these”.
“42. It follows from this analysis that the appellants are in my opinion entitled to invite the courts to review, on proportionality grounds, the Derogation Order and the compatibility with the Convention of section 23 [of the 2001 Act] and the courts are not effectively precluded by any doctrine of deference from scrutinising the issues raised. It also follows that I do not accept the full breadth of the Attorney General's submissions. I do not in particular accept the distinction which he drew between democratic institutions and the courts. It is of course true that the judges in this country are not elected and are not answerable to Parliament. It is also of course true ... that Parliament, the executive and the courts have different functions. But the function of independent judges charged to interpret and apply the law is universally recognised as a cardinal feature of the modern democratic state, a cornerstone of the rule of law itself. The Attorney General is fully entitled to insist on the proper limits of judicial authority, but he is wrong to stigmatise judicial decision-making as in some way undemocratic. It is particularly inappropriate in a case such as the present in which Parliament has expressly legislated in section 6 of the 1998 Act to render unlawful any act of a public authority, including a court, incompatible with a Convention right; has required courts (in section 2) to take account of relevant Strasbourg jurisprudence; has (in section 3) required courts, so far as possible, to give effect to Convention rights and has conferred a right of appeal on derogation issues. The effect is not, of course, to override the sovereign legislative authority of the Queen in Parliament, since if primary legislation is declared to be incompatible the validity of the legislation is unaffected (section 4(6)) and the remedy lies with the appropriate minister (section 10), who is answerable to Parliament. The 1998 Act gives the courts a very specific, wholly democratic, mandate”.
On the first point, Lord Bingham emphasised that SIAC's finding that the terrorist threat was not confined to non-nationals had not been challenged. Since SIAC was the responsible fact-finding tribunal, it was unnecessary to examine the basis for its finding, but there was evidence that “upwards of a thousand individuals from the UK are estimated on the basis of intelligence to have attended training camps in Afghanistan in the last five years”; that some British citizens were said to have planned to return from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom; and that the background material relating to the applicants showed the high level of involvement of British citizens and those otherwise connected with the United Kingdom in the terrorist networks. Lord Bingham continued:
“33. ... It is plain that sections 21 and 23 of the 2001 Act do not address the threat presented by UK nationals since they do not provide for the certification and detention of UK nationals. It is beside the point that other sections of the 2001 Act and the 2000 Act do apply to UK nationals, since they are not the subject of derogation, are not the subject of complaint and apply equally to foreign nationals. Yet the threat from UK nationals, if quantitatively smaller, is not said to be qualitatively different from that from foreign nationals. It is also plain that sections 21 and 23 do permit a person certified and detained to leave the United Kingdom and go to any other country willing to receive him, as two of the appellants did when they left for Morocco and France respectively .... Such freedom to leave is wholly explicable in terms of immigration control: if the British authorities wish to deport a foreign national but cannot deport him to country 'A' because of Chahal their purpose is as well served by his voluntary departure for country 'B'. But allowing a suspected international terrorist to leave our shores and depart to another country, perhaps a country as close as France, there to pursue his criminal designs, is hard to reconcile with a belief in his capacity to inflict serious injury to the people and interests of this country. ...
35. The fifth step in the appellants' argument permits of little elaboration. But it seems reasonable to assume that those suspected international terrorists who are UK nationals are not simply ignored by the authorities. When [the fifth applicant] was released from prison by SIAC on bail ..., it was on condition (among other things) that he wear an electronic monitoring tag at all times; that he remain at his premises at all times; that he telephone a named security company five times each day at specified times; that he permit the company to install monitoring equipment at his premises; that he limit entry to his premises to his family, his solicitor, his medical attendants and other approved persons; that he make no contact with any other person; that he have on his premises no computer equipment, mobile telephone or other electronic communications device; that he cancel the existing telephone link to his premises; and that he install a dedicated telephone link permitting contact only with the security company. The appellants suggested that conditions of this kind, strictly enforced, would effectively inhibit terrorist activity. It is hard to see why this would not be so.
36. In urging the fundamental importance of the right to personal freedom, as the sixth step in their proportionality argument, the appellants were able to draw on the long libertarian tradition of English law, dating back to chapter 39 of Magna Carta 1215, given effect in the ancient remedy of habeas corpus, declared in the Petition of Right 1628, upheld in a series of landmark decisions down the centuries and embodied in the substance and procedure of the law to our own day. ... In its treatment of article 5 of the European Convention, the European Court also has recognised the prime importance of personal freedom. ...
43. The appellants' proportionality challenge to the Order and section 23 is, in my opinion, sound, for all the reasons they gave and also for those given by the European Commissioner for Human Rights and the Newton Committee. The Attorney General could give no persuasive answer.”
C. The certification proceedings: the “generic” judgment and appeals
As regards preliminary issues, it found, inter alia, that it had jurisdiction to hear an appeal against certification even where the person certified had left the United Kingdom and the certificate had been revoked. It held that the tests whether reasonable grounds existed for suspicion that a person was a “terrorist” and for belief that his presence in the United Kingdom was a risk to national security, within the meaning of section 21 of the 2001 Act, fell “some way short of proof even on the balance of probabilities”. It further held that “reasonable grounds could be based on material which would not be admissible in a normal trial in court, such as hearsay evidence of an unidentified informant”. The weight that was to be attached to any particular piece of evidence was a matter for consideration in the light of all the evidence viewed as a whole. Information which might have been obtained by torture should not automatically be excluded, but the court should have regard to any evidence about the manner in which it was obtained and judge its weight and reliability accordingly.
SIAC held that the detention provisions in the 2001 Act should be interpreted in the light of the terms of the derogation. The threat to the life of the nation was not confined to activities within the United Kingdom, because the nation's life included its diplomatic, cultural and tourism-related activities abroad. Moreover, attacks on the United Kingdom's allies could also create a risk to the United Kingdom, given the interdependence of countries facing a global terrorist threat. The derogation identified the threat as emanating from al'Qaeda and its associates. It was therefore necessary, in respect of both the “national security” and the “international terrorist” limbs of section 21 of the 2001 Act, to show reasonable grounds for suspicion that the person certified was part of a group which was connected, directly or indirectly, to al'Qaeda. Even if the main focus of the group in question was a national struggle, if it backed al'Qaeda for a part of its agenda and the individual nonetheless supported the group, it was a legitimate inference that he was supporting and assisting al'Qaeda.
SIAC also made a number of findings of fact of general application concerning organisations alleged by the Secretary of State to be linked to al'Qaeda. These findings were based on both “open” and “closed” material. Thus, it held, for example, that the GSPC, or Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which was formed in Algeria in 1998, was an international terrorist organisation linked to al'Qaeda through training and funding, but that the earlier Algerian organisation, Armed Islamic Group (GIA), was not. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) was either part of al'Qaeda or very closely linked to it. The Chechen Arab Mujahaddin was an international terrorist group, pursuing an anti-West agenda beyond the struggle for Chechen independence, with close links to al'Qaeda. SIAC also identified as falling within the terms of the derogation a group of primarily Algerian extremists centred around Abu Doha, an Algerian who had lived in the United Kingdom from about 1999. It was alleged that Abu Doha had held a senior role in training camps in Afghanistan and had many contacts in al'Qaeda, including a connection with the Frankfurt cell which had been accused of plotting to bomb the Strasbourg Christmas market in December 2000. Abu Doha was arrested in February 2001, following an extradition request from the United States of America, but his group remained active.
On 11 August 2004 the Court of Appeal, by a majority, upheld SIAC's decision ( EWCA Civ 1123).
On 8 December 2005 the House of Lords held unanimously that the evidence of a suspect or witness which had been obtained by torture had long been regarded as inherently unreliable, unfair, offensive to ordinary standards of humanity and decency and incompatible with the principles on which courts should administer justice. It followed that such evidence might not lawfully be admitted against a party to proceedings in a United Kingdom court, irrespective of where, by whom and on whose authority the torture had been inflicted. Since the person challenging certification had only limited access to the material advanced against him in the proceedings before SIAC, he could not be expected to do more than raise a plausible reason that material might have been so obtained and it was then for SIAC to initiate the relevant enquiries. The House of Lords therefore allowed the applicants' appeals and remitted each case to SIAC for reconsideration ( UKHL 71).
D. The certification proceedings: the individual determinations
1. The first applicant
“We are acutely aware that the open material relied on against the applicant is very general and that the case depends in the main upon assertions which are largely unsupported. The central allegation is that he has been involved in fund raising and distribution of those funds for terrorist groups with links to Al Qa'eda. It is also said that he has procured false documents and helped facilitate the movement of jihad volunteers to training camps in Afghanistan. He is said to be closely involved with senior extremists and associates of Osama Bin Laden both in the United Kingdom and overseas. His case is and always has been that he is concerned and concerned only with welfare projects, in particular a school in Afghanistan for the children of Arab speakers there and projects such as construction of wells and provision of food to communities in Afghanistan. He has also raised money for refugees from Chechnya. Any contact with so-called extremists has been in that context and he had no reason to believe they were terrorists or were interested in terrorism.
We recognise the real difficulties that the Appellant has in making this appeal. We have made appropriate allowance for those difficulties and his mental problems. We note [his counsel's] concerns that there has been gross oversimplification by the Security Service of the situation which is, he submits, highly complex and a tendency to assume that any devout Muslim who believed that the way of life practised by the Taliban in Afghanistan was the true way to follow must be suspect. We note, too, that initially the Respondent asserted that all the Appellant's fund raising activities were for the purpose of assisting terrorism and that it was only when evidence was produced by the Appellant to show that there were legitimate charitable objectives that he accepted that at least some money was raised for those purposes. Insofar as connections with named individuals are relied on, we bear in mind that some of them, who are alleged to be involved in terrorism, have appeals pending ... and that allegations against others have not been tested nor have alleged links been able to be explained.
[The first applicant's counsel] accepted, as he had to, the unreliability of the Applicant's evidence about his movements in the 1990s, but asked us not to hold it against him because of his mental state. We do not accept that we can do that. The lies were a deliberate attempt to rebut the allegation that he had been a mujahid in Afghanistan, saying that he spent three years in a Jordanian prison. There was an overstatement by the police of the amount involved through the bank account. This we accept, but there was still a substantial sum of money going through them. And [the applicant's counsel] submitted that the allegation was that he had provided false documents for others not for himself. Thus his false Iraq passport was not material. It does however show an ability to obtain a false passport. [The applicant's counsel] attacked the reliability of the intelligence relied on against the Appellant since it was only belatedly accepted that he had been involved in genuine charitable work and that some of the money going through his account and raised by him was for such a purpose. We recognise the danger that all activities by one who is under suspicion may be regarded as themselves suspicious and that there may not be a fair consideration of all material to see whether it truly does support the suspicion. We have considered all the material, in particular that which is closed, with that danger in mind.
As we have said, the open evidence taken in isolation cannot provide the reasons why we are dismissing this appeal and we sympathise with [the first applicant's counsel's] concerns that he had a most difficult task. We were not impressed with the appellant as a witness, even making all allowances for his mental state and the difficulties under which he was labouring. He was often evasive and vague and has admittedly told lies in relation to his movements in the 1990s. His explanations about some of the transactions recorded in his bank accounts we have found difficult to follow or accept. We should say that we do not consider that the Respondent's case is significantly advanced by what has been said about the Appellant's involvement with Algeria or Chechnya; the case depends essentially on the evidence about the Appellant's dealings with Afghanistan and with terrorists known to have links with Al Qa'eda.
It is clear that the Appellant was a very successful fundraiser and, more importantly, that he was able to get the money to Afghanistan. Whatever his problems, he was able to and was relied on to provide an efficient service. His explanations both of who were the well known terrorists whose children were at the school and of the various of the more substantial payments shown in the bank accounts are unsatisfactory. He was vague where, having regard to the allegations made against him, we would have expected some detail.
We have considered all the evidence critically. The closed material confirms our view that the certification in this case was correct. There is both a reasonable belief that the Appellant's presence in the United Kingdom is a risk to national security and a reasonable suspicion that he is a terrorist within the meaning of section 21 of the 2001 Act. This appeal is accordingly dismissed.”
“The updated open generic material ... continues to show that there is a direct terrorist threat to the United Kingdom from a group or groups of largely North African Islamic extremists, linked in various ways to Al Qa'eda.
Although some of his contacts have been detained, the range of extremists prominent in various groups was such that he would have no difficulty and retains the will and ability to add his considerable experience of logistic support to them in pursuit of the extremist Islamic agenda in the UK. The certificate is properly maintained.”
2. The second applicant
“(1) he has links with both the GIA and the GSPC [Algerian terrorist groups: see paragraph 26 above] and is a close associate of a number of Islamic extremists with links to Al Qa'eda and/or Bin Laden.
(2) he has been concerned in the preparation and/or instigation of acts of international terrorism by procuring high-tech equipment (including communications equipment) for the GSPC and/or Islamic extremists in Chechnya led by Ibn Khattab and has also procured clothing for the latter group.
(3) he has supported one or more of the GIA, the GSPC and the Ibn Khattab faction in Chechnya by his involvement in fraud perpetrated to facilitate the funding of extremists and storing and handling of propaganda videos promoting the jihad.
The Secretary of State's open case expands on those allegations and further indicates the use of at least one alias and a pattern of association with individuals known or assessed to be involved in terrorism [five individuals were identified]. All these were described by [counsel for the Secretary of State] as 'known Algerian Islamic extremists'.
Witness B [for the Secretary of State] confirmed that the allegation against [the second applicant] is that he is a member of a network, rather than a member of any particular organisation such as the GSPC or the GIA”.
SIAC continued by explaining the findings it had made against the applicant:
“Like the other Appellants, [the second applicant] is not charged in these proceedings with a series of individual offences. The issue is whether, taking the evidence as a whole, it is reasonable to suspect him of being an international terrorist (as defined). When we look at the material before us, as we do, we treat it cumulatively. It might be that the material relating to fraud alone, or to clothing alone, or to videos alone, or to associations, would not by itself show that a person was in any way involved in terrorism or its support. But we need to assess the situation when various factors are found combined in the same person. Those factors are as follows. First is his involvement in acts of fraud, of which he must be aware but of which he seeks to provide no explanation, excusing himself apparently on the ground that he is not aware which particular act or acts the Secretary of State has in mind. Secondly, he has been involved in raising consciousness (and hence in raising money) about the struggle in Chechnya, and has been doing so in a specifically Islamic (rather than a merely humanitarian) context, using and distributing films which, according to the evidence before us, tend to be found in extremist communities. In the generic evidence, we have dealt with the Chechen Arab Mujahaddin and the significance of support for it which we accepted is given in full knowledge of its wider jihadist agenda. ... [He] has done so as a close associate of Abu Doha. Given the information we have about Abu Doha which, as we have said, we have no reason to doubt, we regard [the second applicant's] claim that Abu Doha was doing nothing illegal (save that he was hiding his activities from the Russians) as entirely implausible. ... [He] has had associations with a number of other individuals involved in terrorism. They are for the most part specified by name in the open case but are not mentioned in his own statement. ...
These are the five features which meet in [the second applicant]. No doubt the Secretary of State could have made his case by demonstrating various combinations of them in a single person. With all five, we regard the case as compelling. We are entirely satisfied that the Secretary of State is reasonable in his suspicion that [the second applicant] supports or assists the GIA, the GSPC, and the looser group based around Abu Doha, and in his belief that at any time [the second applicant] is in the United Kingdom his presence here is a risk to national security.”
3. The third applicant
“The case against the Appellant, as framed in the open material, is that he is a key member of an extreme Islamist group known as the Tunisia Fighting Group (TFG). It is said that this group was formed during 2000 and had its origins in the Tunisian Islamic Front (known as the FIT since the name is in French). Its ultimate aim is said to be to establish an Islamic State in Tunisia. It is further asserted that the Appellant has been in regular contact with a number of known extremists including some who have been involved in terrorist activities or planning. Both the FIT and the TFG are said to have links with Al Qa'eda.
The open material deployed against the Appellant is not at all substantial. The evidence which is relied on against him is largely to be found in the closed material. This has meant that he has been at a real disadvantage in dealing with the case because he is not aware of those with whom he is alleged to have been in contact.
In his statement the Appellant says that he has never heard of the TFG and is certainly not a member of it. ... We have no doubts that the TFG exists ... [and] also that it has links to Al Qa'eda. Our reasons for so concluding must be given in the closed judgment.
In May 1998 the Appellant and some 10 others were arrested in a joint Special Branch and Security Service operation pursuant to warrants under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Appellant was released without charge and in due course received £18,500 compensation for wrongful arrest. The arrests were in connection with allegations of involvement in a plot to target the World Cup in France. We of course give weight to the absence of any admissible evidence to support the Appellant's involvement in the alleged conspiracy, but it is not and cannot be the answer to this appeal. We have to consider all the material to see whether there are reasonable grounds for a belief or suspicion of the kind referred to in section 21(a) or (b) of the 2001 Act.
We are satisfied that the Appellant is a member of the TFG, itself an international terrorist organisation within the scope of the 2001 Act, and that he has links with an international terrorist group. We appreciate that our open reasons for being so satisfied are sparse. That is because the material which drives us to that conclusion is mainly closed. We have considered it carefully and in the context of knowing the appellant denies any involvement in terrorism or any knowing support for or assistance to terrorists. We have therefore been careful only to rely on material which cannot in our judgment have an innocent explanation.”
4. The fourth applicant
“In reaching our decision, we will have to consider not only the open but also the closed material. The Appellant appears to have suspected that he was the subject of surveillance over much of the relevant period.
We are conscious of the need to be very careful not to assume guilt from association. There must be more than friendship or consorting with those who are believed to be involved in international terrorism to justify a reasonable suspicion that the Appellant is himself involved in those activities or is at least knowingly supporting or assisting them. We bear in mind [his solicitor's] concerns that what has happened here is an attempt to resurrect the prosecution with nothing to add from his activities since. Detention must be regarded as a last resort and so cannot be justified on the basis of association alone and in any event the guilt of the associates has never been established. ...
Nonetheless, continued association with those who are suspected of being involved in international terrorism with links to Al Qa'eda in the light of the reasonable suspicion that the Appellant was himself actively involved in terrorist activities for the GIA is a matter which can properly be taken into account. The GSPC, which broke away from the GIA, has links to Al Qa'eda and the Appellant has continued to associate with those who took to the GSPC rather than the GIA. We are in fact satisfied that not only was the Appellant actively involved initially with the GIA and then with the GSPC but also that he provided false documentation for their members and for the Mujahaddin in Chechnya as is alleged in the open statement. But we accept that his activities in 2000 and 2001 justify the use of the expression that he had been maintaining a low profile, and we make that observation having regard to both open and closed material. Nonetheless, a low profile does not mean that he is not properly to be regarded as an international terrorist within the meaning of section 21. An assessment has to be made of what he may do in the light of what he has done and the fact that he has shown willingness and the ability to give assistance and support in the past and continues the associations and to provide some help (e.g. the use of his van) is highly relevant.
We have not found this aspect of the Appellant's case at all easy. We have given full weight to all [his solicitor's] submissions which were so persuasively put before us but in the end have reached the view that, looking at the evidence as a whole, the decision to issue a certificate was not wrong. Accordingly, we would not have allowed the appeal on the facts.”
5. The fifth applicant
“The open statements provided to justify the certification do not refer to a great deal of source material and so consist mainly of assertions. As with most of these appeals, the main part of the evidence lies in closed material and so, as we are well aware, the Appellants have been at a disadvantage in that they have not been able to deal with what might be taken to be incriminating evidence. The Special Advocates have been able to challenge certain matters and sometimes to good effect. That indeed was the case in relation to a camp in Dorset attended by a number of those, including the Appellant, of interest to the Security Service. ...
The case against the Appellant is that he was a member of the GIA and, since its split from the GIA, of the GSPC. He is associated with a number of leading extremists, some of whom are also members of or associated with the GSPC, and has provided active support in the form of the supply of false documents and facilitating young Muslims from the United Kingdom to travel to Afghanistan to train for jihad. He is regarded as having undertaken an important role in the support activities undertaken on behalf of the GSPC and other Islamic extremists in the United Kingdom and outside it. All this the Appellant denies and in his statement he gives innocent explanations for the associations alleged against him. He was indeed friendly with in particular other Algerians in the United Kingdom and, so far as [the fourth applicant] was concerned, the families were close because, apart from anything else, their respective wives were French. He attended [the eighth applicant's] mosque. He was an impressive preacher and the appellant says he listened but was never involved. Indeed he did not know [the eighth applicant] except through Chechen relief, which the Appellant and many hundreds of other Muslims supported, and he had never spoken to him on the telephone. He had on occasions approached [the eighth applicant] at Friday prayers at the mosque if he wanted guidance on some social problem.”
SIAC referred to “open” surveillance reports which showed the applicant to have been in contact with other alleged members of GIA and the GSPC, including at a camp in Dorset in July 1999. Further “open” evidence concerned his “unhelpful” and “not altogether truthful” responses to questioning by officers of the Security Service in July and September 2001. SIAC continued:
“Reliance is placed on various articles found in his house when he was arrested. These include a copy of the fatwa issued by Bin Laden. The Appellant says he had never seen it and could not explain its presence. A GSPC communiqué was, he says, probably one handed out at the mosque. Analysis of the hard drive of his computer showed it had visited an internet site that specialised in United States military technology. This was not something which could be relevant to the Appellant's studies. And a hand drawn diagram of a missile rocket he has not seen before. It might, he thinks, have been in a book about Islam he had bought second hand from the mosque.
We note the denials, but we have to consider all the evidence. As will be clear from this judgment, we have reason to doubt some of the Appellant's assertions. But the closed material confirms our view that there is indeed reasonable suspicion that the Appellant is an international terrorist within the meaning of section 21 and reasonable belief that his presence in the United Kingdom is a risk to national security. We have no doubt that he has been involved in the production of false documentation, has facilitated young Muslims to travel to Afghanistan to train for jihad and has actively assisted terrorists who have links with Al Qa'eda. We are satisfied too that he has actively assisted the GSPC. We have no hesitation in dismissing his appeal.”
“... in granting bail, [SIAC] did not revise its view as to the strength of the grounds for believing he was an international terrorist and a threat to national security. The threat could be managed proportionately in his case in view of his severe mental illness. That however is no reason to cancel the certificate. There might be circumstances in which he breaches the terms of his bail or for other reasons it was necessary to revoke it. The need for the certificate to continue must depend on whether the terms of the statute and of the derogation continue to be met.
A number of his contacts remain at large including some who are regarded as actively involved in terrorist planning. There is nothing to suggest that his mental illness has diminished his commitment to the extremist Islamic cause; he has the experience and capacity to involve himself once more in extremist activity. The bail restraints on him are essential; those are imposed pursuant to his certification and the SIAC dismissal of his appeal against it. The certificate is properly maintained.”
6. The sixth applicant
“Although we have to make our decision on the basis both of the open and of the closed material, it is important to indicate the case against [the sixth applicant] as it has been set out by the Secretary of State in open material, because that is the case that [the sixth applicant] knows that he has to meet. In assessing his statement and the other evidence and arguments submitted on his behalf, we remind ourselves always that he is not aware of the Secretary of State's closed material, but nevertheless that he is not operating entirely in a vacuum because of the open allegations; and we may test the Appellant's own case by the way he deals with those allegations.
The Secretary of State's case against [the sixth applicant] is summarised as follows:
(1) he belongs to and/or is a member of the GSPC, and previously was involved with the GIA;
(2) he has supported and assisted the GSPC (and previously the GIA) through his involvement in credit card fraud which is a main source of income in the United Kingdom for the GSPC;
(3) from about August 2000, [the sixth applicant] took on an important role in procuring telecommunication equipment for the GSPC and the provision of logistical support for satellite phones by way of purchase and allocation of airtimes for those phones;
(4) he has also played an important part in procuring telecommunications equipment and other equipment for the Mujahedin fighting in Chechnya – that is to say the faction which until 2002 was under the command of Ibn Khattab.”
SIAC then reviewed the open evidence before it regarding the purchase by Abu Doha, assisted by the sixth and seventh applicants, of a number of satellite telephones and other telecommunications equipment to the value of GBP 229,265 and the nature and extent of the connection between the sixth and seventh applicants. It concluded:
“In the circumstances we have set out, it appears to us that the Secretary of State has ample ground for suspicion that [the sixth applicant's] procurement activities were directed to the support of the extremist Arab Islamist faction fighting in Chechnya. That support arises from [the sixth applicant's] connexions with and support of the GSPC. We emphasise, as is the case with other appeals as well, that it is the accumulation of factors, each lending support to the others rather than undermining other points, providing colour and context for the activities seen as a whole which is persuasive; it would be wrong to take a piece in isolation, thereby to diminish its significance and to miss the larger picture. The generic judgment supports these conclusions. These are activities falling centrally within the derogation. [The sixth applicant] has provided only implausible denials and has failed to offer credible alternative explanations. That is sufficient to determine his appeal, without making any further reference to the Secretary of State's other allegations which, as was acknowledged in the open statement and in open evidence before [SIAC], can be properly sustained only by examination of the closed material.”
7. The seventh applicant
“[The seventh applicant] did not give evidence before [SIAC] and, indeed, chose not to attend the hearing of his appeal. His statement, which we have of course read, is in the most general terms, and, perhaps not surprisingly, [his counsel's] submissions, both oral and written, were similarly general. [The seventh applicant's] approach to the present proceedings of themselves and the fact that he did not give oral evidence or make any detailed written statement are not matters to be put in the scale against him. We well understand the difficulty that Appellants have in circumstances where the allegations against them are only summarised and where much of the evidence on which those allegations are based cannot, for reasons of national security, be communicated to the Appellants themselves. However, [the seventh applicant] is in the best position to know what his activities and motives have been in the relevant period. Nothing prevents him from giving a full description and account of those activities if he wishes to do so. The fact that he has chosen to provide no detailed account of his activities means that he has provided no material to counter the evidence and arguments of others”.
SIAC concluded that the open and closed material supported the allegations against the seventh applicant and it dismissed his appeal.
8. The eighth applicant
“[The eighth applicant's counsel], on instructions from the appellant, informed us that his client had chosen not to attend the hearing or to participate in any way. He had read the decisions relating to the appellants who had been certified when the 2001 Act came into force and the generic judgment and so felt certain that the result of his appeal was a foregone conclusion. There had been many references to his role in the other appeals and some had been certified and detained, at least in part, on the basis that they associated with him. Since that association was regarded as sufficient to justify their continued detention, he considered that the decision on his appeal had, in effect, already been taken. He had chosen not to play any part precisely because he has no faith in the ability of the system to get at the truth. He considered that the SIAC procedure had deliberately been established to avoid open and public scrutiny of the respondent's case, which deprived individuals of a fair opportunity to challenge the case against them.
Having said that, [the eighth applicant's counsel] made it clear that the appeal was not being withdrawn. It was accordingly necessary for us to consider it and to take into account the statement made by the appellant. [His counsel] emphasised a number of matters which, he suggested, should be regarded as favourable to the appellant's contention that he was not and never had been involved in terrorism within the meaning of the 2001 Act. Furthermore, the allegations showed that a distorted and over-simplified view was being taken by the security services of the appellant's activities and his role as a respected teacher and believer in the rights of Islamic communication throughout the world.
We should make it clear that we have considered the case against the appellant on its merits. We have not been influenced by any findings made in other appeals or the generic judgments. One of the reasons why this judgment has taken a long time to be prepared was the need for us to read through and consider the evidence, both open and closed, that has been put before us. There is much more of it than in most of the other appeals. That is a reflection of the fact that the appellant has been associated with and had dealings with many of the others who have been certified and with individuals and groups themselves linked to Al Qa'ida. We see no reason to dissent from the views expressed in the generic judgment of the significance of the various individuals and groups referred to in it. But that does not mean we have therefore automatically accepted its views. We draw attention to the fact that the panel which produced the generic judgment was not the same constitution as this panel and that such input as there was by the chairman of this panel to the generic judgment was limited to issues of law. We have considered the case against the appellant on the material put before us in this appeal. ...
When it came to the closed session, the Special Advocates informed us that after careful consideration they had decided that it would not be in the appellant's interests for them to take any part in the proceedings. We were very concerned at this, taking the view that the decision was wrong. The appeal was still being pursued and the appellant did not know what was relied on against him in the closed material. We were unable to understand how in the circumstances it could not be in his interests for the Special Advocates, at their discretion, to elicit or identify matters favourable to the appellant and to make submissions to us to seek to persuade us that evidence was in fact unreliable or did not justify the assessment made. When we asked [one of the two Special Advocates appointed on behalf of the eighth applicant] to tell us why he had decided as he had he told us that he could not do so since to do so would not be in the appellant's interest. We adjourned to enable the Special Advocates to seek to discover from the appellant through his representatives whether he did wish them to do what they could on his behalf and we also contacted the Solicitor General who had appointed the Special Advocates to seek her help in trying to persuade them to assist us. The appellant's representatives indicated that they had nothing to say on the subject and the Solicitor General took the view that it would be wrong for her to intervene in any way. Our further attempts to persuade the Special Advocates to change their minds were unsuccessful and since we could not compel them to act in any particular way we had to proceed without them. [Counsel for the Secretary of State], at our request, identified various matters which might be regarded as possibly exculpatory and we ourselves raised other matters in the course of the closed hearing.
We are conscious that the absence of a Special Advocate makes our task even more difficult than it normally is and that the potential unfairness to the appellant is the more apparent. We do not doubt that the Special Advocates believed they had good reasons for adopting the stance that they did and we are equally sure that they thought long and hard about whether they were doing the right thing. But we are bound to record our clear view that they were wrong and that there could be no reason for not continuing to take part in an appeal that was still being pursued. ... As it happens, the evidence in this case against the appellant is so strong that no Special Advocates, however brilliant, could have persuaded us that reasonable suspicion had not been established so that the certification was not justified. Thus the absence of Special Advocates has not prejudiced the appellant. ...”
“We are satisfied that the appellant's activities went far beyond the mere giving of advice. He has certainly given the support of the Koran to those who wish to further the aims of Al Qa'ida and to engage in suicide bombing and other murderous activities. The evidence is sufficient to show that he has been concerned in the instigation of acts of international terrorism. But spiritual advice given in the knowledge of the purposes for which and the uses to which it is to be put provides assistance within the meaning of s.21(4) of the 2001 Act.
There are a large number of allegations made. We see no point in dealing with them seriatim. We have indicated why we have formed the view that the case made against the appellant is established. Indeed, were the standard higher than reasonable suspicion, we would have had no doubt that it was established. The appellant was heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with Al Qa'ida. He is a truly dangerous individual and these appeals are dismissed.”
9. The ninth applicant
10. The tenth applicant
The applicant submitted a written statement on 28 June 2003 in which he denied the allegations against him. He did not, however, participate in the hearing of his appeal, as SIAC explained in its judgment:
“He was, said [his counsel], a genuine refugee, a member of no organisation or group and not involved in terrorism or in advocating terrorism. He had no knowledge of any planned terrorist attacks and could not understand why the accusations had been made against him. He had seen none of the underlying material and had no means of challenging it. In effect, he could do no more than assert that it could not justify the conclusion that he was an international terrorist within the meaning of the Act since he was not. He had had read to him the decisions of [SIAC] in the previous appeals. Given the relevance which was placed on the closed material and the statutory test applicable, he felt that the result was a foregone conclusion. He did not wish in participating in the appeal to give an impression which was false that he could deal with the matters which were being relied on against him. He had no confidence in the proceedings. Accordingly he would take no active part in them beyond the statement which [his counsel] made on his behalf.
He did not withdraw his appeal. While we appreciate the handicap under which he and indeed all the appellants labour, we wish to make it clear that no appeal is a foregone conclusion. We have to and we do consider the evidence put before us, whether open or closed, with care because we recognise that the result is detention for an unspecified period without trial. While we recognise that the Special Advocate has a difficult task when he has and can obtain no instructions on closed material, he is able to test evidence from the Security Service and to draw our attention to material which assists the appellant's case.”
SIAC found that there was ample evidence to support the view that the applicant was involved in fraudulent activities. The evidence before it, most of it closed, was sufficient to establish that he was doing it to raise money for terrorist causes and to support those involved in terrorism. It therefore dismissed the appeal against certification.
11. The eleventh applicant
“We recognise the difficulties faced by an Appellant who only sees only the open material and can understand [the eleventh applicant's] perception that the procedures are unfair. However, each case will turn upon its own individual facts, and it would be wrong to give the impression, which [his solicitor] sought to do, that this particular appellant had been placed in a position where he was prevented by reason of the procedures under the Act from mounting an effective defence in response to the case made against him.
We have summarised the information made available to [the eleventh applicant] at the various stages of the procedure ... and [his] response to this information in his Written Statement. While some of the assessments in the open material can fairly be described as general assertions unsupported by any documentary evidence, in response to which [the eleventh applicant] would not have been able to give any more than an equally general denial, it is clear that in respect of other assessments [he] was provided with a great deal of detailed information: names, dates, places and supporting documents.
[The eleventh applicant] is in the best position to give an account of his whereabouts and activities since he first claimed asylum in 1998. His written statement is significant not so much for what it says, as for what it does not say. To take one example: the visit to St Albans and the photo-booth where [the eleventh applicant] says that the Respondent's specific assertion is 'completely wrong' ... [The eleventh applicant] has not denied that he went to St Albans. He knows who accompanied him and why they went there. He has not explained why they went there, nor has he identified his companion, despite having been provided with the photographs taken during the surveillance operation. ...”
SIAC continued by noting the inconsistencies in the applicant's various accounts of his trips to Afghanistan, Georgia and Dubai and his failure to deal with the Secretary of State's allegations that he had associated with various members of the Abu Doha group, identified by name. SIAC continued:
“The matters referred to ... are not an exhaustive list, merely the most obvious examples of the way in which [the eleventh applicant's] written statement fails to deal with the open case made against him. Given the unsatisfactory nature of the statement we do not feel able to give any significant weight to the general denials contained within it ... We have dealt with these matters in some detail because they are useful illustrations of the extent to which [the eleventh applicant] would have been able to answer the case against him, if he had chosen to do so. While we do not draw any adverse inference from [his] failure to give evidence, or otherwise participate in the hearing of his appeal, we do have to determine his appeal on the evidence and we are left with the position that there has been no effective challenge by way of evidence, cross-examination or submission to the open material produced by the Respondent.
The standard of proof prescribed by section 25(2) of the 2001 Act is relatively low: are there reasonable grounds for belief or suspicion. As explained above, we are satisfied that this low threshold is easily crossed on the basis of the open material alone. If the totality of the material, both open and closed, is considered, we have no doubt that [the eleventh applicant] was a senior, and active, member of the Abu Doha group as described in the Respondent's evidence.”
E. The conditions of detention and the effect of detention on the applicants' health
Following a recommendation of the inspector appointed under the 2001 Act to review the detention regime, the Government created a Special Unit at Woodhill Prison to house the 2001 Act detainees. The Unit, which was refurbished in consultation with the detained applicants and their representatives and had a specially selected and trained staff, would have allowed for a more relaxed regime, including more out-of-cell time. The applicants, however, chose not to move to the Unit, a decision which the inspector found regrettable.
72 The first applicant, who alleged a history of ill-treatment in Israeli detention and who had first been treated for depression in May 1999, suffered a severe deterioration in his mental health while detained in Belmarsh Prison. He was transferred to Broadmoor Secure Mental Hospital in July 2002.
“The detainees originate from countries where mental illness is highly stigmatized. In addition, for devout Muslims there is a direct prohibition against suicide. This is particularly significant given the number who have attempted or are considering suicide. All of the detainees have serious mental health problems which are the direct result of, or are seriously exacerbated by, the indefinite nature of the detention. The mental health problems predominantly take the form of major depressive disorder and anxiety. A number of detainees have developed psychotic symptoms, as they have deteriorated. Some detainees are also experiencing PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] either as a result of their pre-migration trauma, the circumstances around their arrest and imprisonment or the interaction between the two.
Continued deterioration in their mental health is affected also by the nature of, and their mistrust in, the prison regime and the appeals process as well as the underlying and central factor of the indefinite nature of detention. The Prison Health Care system is unable to meet their health needs adequately. There is a failure to perceive self harm and distressed behaviour as part of the clinical condition rather than merely being seen as manipulation. There is inadequate provision for complex physical health problems.
Their mental health problems are unlikely to resolve while they are maintained in their current situation and given the evidence of repeated interviews it is highly likely that they will continue to deteriorate while in detention.
The problems described by the detainees are remarkably similar to the problems identified in the literature examining the impact of immigration detention. This literature describes very high levels of depression and anxiety and eloquently makes the point that the length of time in detention relates directly to the severity of symptoms and that it is detention per se which is causing these problems to deteriorate.”
“I would comment that I find many of the assertions made do not bear close inspection. For example in the case of [the first applicant] it was my finding after a careful and detailed assessment that his mental state after imprisonment and then detention in Broadmoor Hospital was, overall, no worse and arguably no better than it had been before he was arrested. Nor do his records suggest initial improvement followed by deterioration in Broadmoor Hospital. I found he deteriorated in HMP Belmarsh because he chose to go on hunger strike and that he had a fluctuating course in Broadmoor Hospital despite agreeing to eat, his histrionic behaviour in both places being essentially the same. In his case I found the diagnosis to be one of Personality Disorder, diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, psychosis and PTSD not being sustainable. Moreover, it was my finding that his frequent self-harming was indeed manipulative.
I am not alone in finding the diagnoses claimed by the authors of this report to be mistaken and have drawn attention in my own report to the scepticism of some others who have reported on [the first and seventh applicants]. It is not the case therefore that there is the consensus of opinion claimed in the report and I note that in both the cases I assessed [the first and seventh applicants], their so-called psychotic symptoms claimed by some reporters and said not to be present before they were detained, were in fact present before they were arrested.
An issue I find to be of the greatest concern relates to the tacit acceptance of information gained by self-report. It appears to be accepted by the authors of the report, for example, that three of the detainees had been the victims of detention and torture and all felt themselves seriously threatened prior to migration. Nowhere have I seen any evidence to corroborate these claims or indeed any attempt to check them. As it is the case that immigrants and asylum-seekers need to justify their attempts to gain entry to another country, is it not possible or even probable that some may not always be entirely truthful in what they claim about their past experiences or their current symptoms? Where alleged terrorists are concerned it should be borne in mind that they have denied such allegations in spite of the open and closed evidence against them, which has been considered at the highest level. Surely this should raise doubts about their truthfulness?”
F. The release of the fifth applicant on bail
“We do not think that the threshold has been crossed so that there is a breach of [the fifth applicant's] human rights. The jurisprudence of the [European Court of Human Rights] emphasises the high threshold which must be crossed and that detention is unlikely to be regarded as disproportionate unless it at least verges on treatment which would constitute a breach of Article 3. But we are satisfied that, if he were not released, there would be such a breach. To permit someone to reach a state whereby he requires treatment in a special hospital or continuous care and attention to ensure he does not harm himself can constitute a breach of Article 8, unless perhaps there is no possible alternative to detention, and probably of Article 3. As we have said, we do not have to wait until that situation exists. Provided that we are persuaded, as we are, that the conditions we impose are sufficient to minimise the risk to the security of the state if [the fifth applicant] is released, we can act as we have.
We must emphasise that the grant of bail is exceptional. We are only doing so because the medical evidence is all one way and the detention has caused the mental illness which will get worse. ...”
G. Events following the House of Lords' judgment of 16 December 2004
B. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. Detention pending deportation before the passing of the 2001 Act
B. The Terrorism Act 2000
“... the use or threat of action where—
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
(4) In this section—
(a) 'action' includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b) a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c) a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d) 'the government' means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.
(5) In this Act a reference to action taken for the purposes of terrorism includes a reference to action taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation”.
For the purposes of the Act, an organisation was “proscribed” if:
3. (1) ...
(a) it is listed in Schedule 2, or
(b) it operates under the same name as an organisation listed in that Schedule.
(2) Subsection (1)(b) shall not apply in relation to an organisation listed in Schedule 2 if its entry is the subject of a note in that Schedule.
(3) The Secretary of State may by order—
(a) add an organisation to Schedule 2;
(b) remove an organisation from that Schedule;
(c) amend that Schedule in some other way.
(4) The Secretary of State may exercise his power under subsection (3)(a) in respect of an organisation only if he believes that it is concerned in terrorism.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) an organisation is concerned in terrorism if it—
(a) commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
(b) prepares for terrorism,
(c) promotes or encourages terrorism, or
(d) is otherwise concerned in terrorism.”
C. The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM
21. Suspected international terrorist: certification
(1) The Secretary of State may issue a certificate under this section in respect of a person if the Secretary of State reasonably-
(a) believes that the person's presence in the United Kingdom is a risk to national security, and
(b) suspects that the person is a terrorist.
(2) In subsection (1)(b) 'terrorist' means a person who-
(a) is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of international terrorism,
(b) is a member of or belongs to an international terrorist group, or
(c) has links with an international terrorist group.
(3) A group is an international terrorist group for the purposes of subsection (2)(b) and (c) if—
(a) it is subject to the control or influence of persons outside the United Kingdom, and
(b) the Secretary of State suspects that it is concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of international terrorism.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)(c) a person has links with an international terrorist group only if he supports or assists it.
(5) In this Part—
“terrorism” has the meaning given by section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11), and
“suspected international terrorist” means a person certified under subsection (1).
(6) Where the Secretary of State issues a certificate under subsection (1) he shall as soon as is reasonably practicable-
(a) take reasonable steps to notify the person certified, and
(b) send a copy of the certificate to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
(7) The Secretary of State may revoke a certificate issued under subsection (1).
(8) A decision of the Secretary of State in connection with certification under this section may be questioned in legal proceedings only under section 25 or 26.
(9) An action of the Secretary of State taken wholly or partly in reliance on a certificate under this section may be questioned in legal proceedings only by or in the course of proceedings under-
(a) section 25 or 26, or
(b) section 2 of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 (c. 68) (appeal).
(1) An action of a kind specified in subsection (2) may be taken in respect of a suspected international terrorist despite the fact that (whether temporarily or indefinitely) the action cannot result in his removal from the United Kingdom because of-
(a) a point of law which wholly or partly relates to an international agreement, or
(b) a practical consideration ...
(2) The actions mentioned in subsection (1) are –
(e) making a deportation order ...
(3) Action of a kind specified in subsection (2) which has effect in respect of a suspected international terrorist at the time of his certification under section 21 shall be treated as taken again (in reliance on subsection (1) above) immediately after certification.
(1) A suspected international terrorist may be detained under a provision specified in subsection (2) despite the fact that his removal or departure from the United Kingdom is prevented (whether temporarily or indefinitely) by-
(a) a point of law which wholly or partly relates to an international agreement, or
(b) a practical consideration
(2) The provisions mentioned in subsection (1) are—
(a) paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77) (detention of persons liable to examination or removal), and
(b) paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 to that Act (detention pending deportation).”
Part 4 of the 2001 Act included a provision that the legislation would remain in force for five years only and was subject to an annual affirmative resolution by both Houses of Parliament.
By section 25 of the 2001 Act:
“(1) A suspected international terrorist may appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission against his certification under section 21.
(2) On an appeal [SIAC] must cancel the certificate if –
(a) it considers that there are no reasonable grounds for a belief or suspicion of the kind referred to in section 21(1)(a) or (b), or
(b) if it considers that for some other reason the certificate should not have been issued.”
SIAC was required to carry out a first review to ensure that the certificate was still justified six months after the issue of the certificate or six months after the final determination of an appeal against certification, and thereafter at three-monthly intervals.
Under section 30 of the 2001 Act, any legal challenge to the derogation under Article 15 of the Convention had also to be made to SIAC.
E. Declarations of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act 1998
F. The Terrorism Act 2006
G. Consideration of the use of special advocates under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005
The House of Lords was unanimous in holding that the proceedings in question determined civil rights and obligations and thus attracted the protection of Article 6. On the question of compliance, the majority (Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell and Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood) held that although in many cases the special advocate procedure would provide a sufficient counterbalance where the Secretary of State wished to withhold material upon which she wished to rely in order to establish the existence of reasonable grounds for suspecting that the controlee was or had been involved in terrorism-related activity, each case had to be considered individually. Baroness Hale put it as follows:
“65. ... It would all depend upon the nature of the case; what steps had been taken to explain the detail of the allegations to the controlled person so that he could anticipate what the material in support might be; what steps had been taken to summarise the closed material in support without revealing names, dates or places; the nature and content of the material withheld; how effectively the special advocate had been able to challenge it on behalf of the controlled person; and what difference its disclosure might have made. All of these factors would be relevant to whether the controlled person had been 'given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis' for the order.
66. I do not think that we can be confident that Strasbourg would hold that every control order hearing in which the special advocate procedure had been used, as contemplated by the 2005 Act and Part 76 of the Civil Procedure Rules, would be sufficient to comply with article 6. However, with strenuous efforts from all, difficult and time consuming though it will be, it should usually be possible to accord the controlled person 'a substantial measure of procedural justice'. Everyone involved will have to do their best to ensure that the 'principles of judicial inquiry' are complied with to the fullest extent possible. The Secretary of State must give as full as possible an explanation of why she considers that the grounds in section 2(1) are made out. The fuller the explanation given, the fuller the instructions that the special advocates will be able to take from the client before they see the closed material. Both judge and special advocates will have to probe the claim that the closed material should remain closed with great care and considerable scepticism. There is ample evidence from elsewhere of a tendency to over-claim the need for secrecy in terrorism cases: see Serrin Turner and Stephen J Schulhofer, The Secrecy Problem in Terrorism Trials, 2005, Brennan Centre for Justice at NYU School of Law. Both judge and special advocates will have stringently to test the material which remains closed. All must be alive to the possibility that material could be redacted or gisted in such a way as to enable the special advocates to seek the client's instructions upon it. All must be alive to the possibility that the special advocates be given leave to ask specific and carefully tailored questions of the client. Although not expressly provided for in CPR r 76.24, the special advocate should be able to call or have called witnesses to rebut the closed material. The nature of the case may be such that the client does not need to know all the details of the evidence in order to make an effective challenge.
67. The best judge of whether the proceedings have afforded a sufficient and substantial measure of procedural protection is likely to be the judge who conducted the hearing. ...”
Lord Carswell observed:
“There is a very wide spectrum of cases in which closed material is relied on by the Secretary of State. At one extreme there may be cases in which the sole evidence adverse to the controlee is closed material, he cannot be told what the evidence is or even given its gist and the special advocate is not in a position to take sufficient instructions to mount an effective challenge to the adverse allegations. At the other end there may be cases where the probative effect of the closed material is very slight or merely corroborative of strong open material and there is no obstacle to presenting a defence. There is an infinite variety of possible cases in between. The balance between the open material and the closed material and the probative nature of each will vary from case to case. The special advocate may be able to discern with sufficient clarity how to deal with the closed material without obtaining direct instructions from the controlee. These are matters for the judge to weigh up and assess in the process of determining whether the controlee has had a fair trial. The assessment is ... fact-specific. The judge who has seen both the open and the closed material and had the benefit of the contribution of the special advocate is in much the best position to make it. I do consider, however, that there is a fairly heavy burden on the controlee to establish that there has been a breach of article 6, for the legitimate public interest in withholding material on valid security grounds should be given due weight. The courts should not be too ready to hold that a disadvantage suffered by the controlee through the withholding of material constitutes a breach of article 6.”
Lord Brown held as follows:
“There may perhaps be cases, wholly exceptional though they are likely to be, where, despite the best efforts of all concerned by way of redaction, anonymisation, and gisting, it will simply be impossible to indicate sufficient of the Secretary of State's case to enable the suspect to advance any effective challenge to it. Unless in these cases the judge can nevertheless feel quite sure that in any event no possible challenge could conceivably have succeeded (a difficult but not, I think, impossible conclusion to arrive at ...), he would have to conclude that the making or, as the case may be, confirmation of an order would indeed involve significant injustice to the suspect. In short, the suspect in such a case would not have been accorded even 'a substantial measure of procedural justice' (Chahal [cited above] § 131) notwithstanding the use of the special advocate procedure; 'the very essence of [his] right [to a fair hearing] [will have been] impaired' (Tinnelly & Sons Ltd and McElduff and others v United Kingdom [cited below] § 72).
Lord Bingham did not dissent but employed different reasoning. He held that it was necessary to look at the process as a whole and consider whether a procedure had been used which involved significant injustice to the controlee; while the use of special advocates could help to enhance the measure of procedural justice available to a controlled person, it could not fully remedy the grave disadvantages of a person not being aware of the case against him and not being able, therefore, effectively to instruct the special advocate.
Lord Hoffmann, dissenting, held that once the trial judge had decided that disclosure would be contrary to the public interest, the use of special advocates provided sufficient safeguards for the controlee and there would never in these circumstances be a breach of Article 6.
(1) In deciding whether the hearing under s 3(10) of the 2005 Act infringed the controlee's rights under art 6 the question was whether, taken as a whole, the hearing was fundamentally unfair to the controlee, or he was not accorded a substantial measure of procedural justice or the very essence of his right to a fair hearing was impaired. More broadly, the question was whether the effect of the process was that the controlee was exposed to significant injustice. (2) All proper steps ought to be taken to provide the controlee with as much information as possible, both in terms of allegation and evidence, if necessary by appropriate gisting. (3) Where the full allegations and evidence were not provided for reasons of national security at the outset, the controlee had to be provided with a special advocate. In such a case the following principles applied. (4) There was no principle that a hearing would be unfair in the absence of open disclosure to the controlee of an irreducible minimum of allegation or evidence. Alternatively, if there was, the irreducible minimum could, depending on the circumstances, be met by disclosure of as little information as was provided in AF's case, which was very little indeed. (5) Whether a hearing would be unfair depended on all the circumstances, including the nature of the case, what steps had been taken to explain the detail of the allegations to the controlled person so that he could anticipate what the material in support might be, what steps had been taken to summarise the closed material in support without revealing names, dates or places, the nature and content of the material withheld, how effectively the special advocate was able to challenge it on behalf of the controlee and what difference its disclosure would or might make. (6) In considering whether open disclosure to the controlee would have made a difference to the answer to whether there were reasonable grounds for suspicion that the controlee was or had been involved in terrorist related activity, the court had to have fully in mind the problems for the controlee and the special advocates and take account of all the circumstances of the case, including what if any information was openly disclosed and how effective the special advocates were able to be. The correct approach to and the weight to be given to any particular factor would depend upon the particular circumstances. (7) There were no rigid principles. What was fair was essentially a matter for the judge, with whose decision the Court of Appeal would very rarely interfere.”
III. DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL COMMENT ON PART 4 OF THE 2001 ACT
A. The Newton Committee
“accumulating evidence that this is not now the case. The British suicide bombers who attacked Tel Aviv in May 2003, Richard Reid ('the Shoe Bomber'), and recent arrests suggest that the threat from UK citizens is real. Almost 30% of Terrorism Act 2000 suspects in the past year have been British. We have been told that, of the people of interest to the authorities because of their suspected involvement in international terrorism, nearly half are British nationals.”
Given this evidence, the Newton Committee observed that not only were there arguments of principle against having discriminatory provisions, but there were also compelling arguments of limited efficacy in addressing the terrorist threat. The Newton Committee therefore called for new legislation to be introduced as a matter of urgency which would deal with the terrorist threat without discrimination on grounds of nationality and which would not require a derogation from Article 5 of the Convention.
“While it would be possible to seek other powers to detain British citizens who may be involved in international terrorism it would be a very grave step. The Government believes that such draconian powers would be difficult to justify. Experience has demonstrated the dangers of such an approach and the damage it can do to community cohesion and thus to support from all parts of the public that is so essential to countering the terrorist threat”.
The Government also indicated that work was under way to try to establish framework agreements with potential destination countries for the purposes of deportation of terrorist suspects.
B. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights
“38. Second, by relying on immigration legislation to provide for the detention of suspected international terrorists, the Bill risks discriminating, in the authorization of detention without charge, between those suspected international terrorists who are subject to immigration control and those who have an unconditional right to remain in the United Kingdom. We are concerned that this might lead to discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to liberty on the ground of nationality. If that could not be shown to have an objective, rational and proportionate justification, it might lead to actions which would be incompatible with Article 5 of the ECHR either taken alone or in combination with the right to be free of discrimination in the enjoyment of Convention rights under Article 14 of the ECHR. It could also lead to violations of the right to be free of discrimination under Article 26 and the right to liberty under Article 9 of the ICCPR.
39. We raised this matter with the Home Secretary in oral evidence. Having considered his response, we are not persuaded that the risk of discrimination on the ground of nationality in the provisions of Part 4 of the Bill has been sufficiently taken on board.”
In its Sixth Report of the Session 2003-2004 (23 February 2004), the Joint Committee expressed deep concern “about the human rights implications of making the detention power an aspect of immigration law rather than anti-terrorism law” and warned of “a significant risk that Part 4 violates the right to be free of discrimination under ECHR Article 14.” Following the Report of the Newton Committee and the Secretary of State's discussion paper published in response to it, the Joint Committee returned to this subject in its Eighteenth Report of the Session 2003-2004 (21 July 2004), paragraphs 42-44:
“42. The discussion paper rejects the Newton Report's recommendation that new legislation replacing Part 4 [of the 2001 Act] should apply equally to all nationalities including British citizens. It states the Government's belief that it is defensible to distinguish between foreign nationals and UK nationals because of their different rights and responsibilities.
43. We have consistently expressed our concern that the provisions of Part 4 [of the 2001 Act] unjustifiably discriminate on grounds of nationality and are therefore in breach of Article 14 ECHR. Along with Lord Newton, we find it extraordinary that the discussion paper asserts that seeking the same power to detain British citizens would be 'a very grave step' and that 'such draconian powers would be difficult to justify.'
44. The interests at stake for a foreign national and a UK national are the same: their fundamental right to liberty under Article 5 ECHR and related procedural rights. Article 1 of the ECHR requires States to secure the Convention rights to everyone within their jurisdiction. Article 14 requires the enjoyment of Convention rights to be secured without discrimination on the ground of nationality. The Government's explanation in its discussion paper of its reluctance to seek the same powers in relation to UK nationals appears to suggest that it regards the liberty interests of foreign nationals as less worthy of protection than exactly the same interests of UK nationals, which is impermissible under the Convention.”
C. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CPT”)
“In fact, the information gathered during the 2004 visit reveals that the authorities are at a loss at how to manage this type of detained person, imprisoned with no real prospect of release and without the necessary support to counter the damaging effects of this unique form of detention. They also highlight the limited capacity of the prison system to respond to a task that is difficult to reconcile with its normal responsibilities. The stated objective, in the response to the CPT's report on the February 2002 visit, of formulating a strategy to enable the Prison Service to manage most appropriately the care and detention of persons held under the 2001 Act, has not been achieved.
Two years after the CPT visited these detained persons, many of them were in a poor mental state as a result of their detention, and some were also in poor physical condition. Detention had caused mental disorders in the majority of persons detained under the [2001 Act] and for those who had been subjected to traumatic experiences or even torture in the past, it had clearly reawakened the experience and even led to the serious recurrence of former disorders. The trauma of detention had become even more detrimental to their health since it was combined with an absence of control resulting from the indefinite character of their detention, the uphill difficulty of challenging their detention and the fact of not knowing what evidence was being used against them to certify and/or uphold their certification as persons suspected of international terrorism. For some of them, their situation at the time of the visit could be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.”
“Although the Government respects the conclusions reached by the delegates of the [CPT] based on the observations on the day of visit, it categorically rejects the suggestion that at any point during their detention the [2001 Act] detainees were treated in an 'inhuman or degrading' manner that may have amounted to a breach in the United Kingdom's international human rights obligations. The Government firmly believes that at all times the detainees received appropriate care and treatment in Belmarsh and had access to all necessary medical support, both physical and psychological, from medical support staff and doctors. The Government accepts that the individuals had difficult backgrounds prior to detention, but does not accept that 'detention had caused mental disorders'. Some of the detainees had mental health issues prior to detention, but that did not stop them engaging in the activities that led to their certification and detention. Mental health issues do not prevent an individual from posing a risk to national security.
The Government does not accept that those certified under [the 2001 Act] were detained without any prospect of their release. ...
On no occasion did SIAC, or any other court, find that the conditions of detention breached the absolute obligation imposed upon the Government by Article 3 of [the Convention]. It is the Government's view that, given the extensive judicial safeguards available to the detainees, the government would not have been able to maintain the detention of these individuals had the powers breached the detainees' Article 3 rights in any way. To suggest otherwise would be to ignore the extensive contact the detainees had with the British judicial system and the absolute obligation upon the judiciary to protect against any such breach.”
D. The European Commissioner for Human Rights
“Whilst acknowledging the obligations of the governments to protect their citizens against the threat of terrorism, the Commissioner is of the opinion that general appeals to an increased risk of terrorist activity post September 11 2001 cannot, on their own be sufficient to justify derogating from the Convention. Several European states long faced with recurring terrorist activity have not considered it necessary to derogate from Convention rights. Nor have any found it necessary to do so under the present circumstances. Detailed information pointing to a real and imminent danger to public safety in the United Kingdom will, therefore, have to be shown.”
The Commissioner continued, with reference to the detention scheme under Part 4 of the 2001 Act:
“In so far as these measures are applicable only to non-deportable foreigners, they might appear, moreover, to be ushering in a two-track justice, whereby different human rights standards apply to foreigners and nationals.”
“Terrorist activity not only must but can be combated within the existing framework of human rights guarantees, which provide precisely for a balancing, in questions concerning national security, of individual rights and the public interest and allow for the use of proportionate special powers. What is required is well-resourced policing, international cooperation and the forceful application of the law. It is to be noted, in this context, that in the Terrorist Act 2000, the United Kingdom already has amongst the toughest and most comprehensive anti-terror legislation in Europe.”
E. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
“17. The Committee is deeply concerned about provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act which provide for the indefinite detention without charge or trial, pending deportation, of non-nationals of the United Kingdom who are suspected of terrorism-related activities.
While acknowledging the State party's national security concerns, the Committee recommends that the State party seek to balance those concerns with the protection of human rights and its international legal obligations. In this regard, the Committee draws the State party's attention to its statement of 8 March 2002 in which it underlines the obligation of States to 'ensure that measures taken in the struggle against terrorism do not discriminate in purpose or effect on grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.'”
IV. OTHER RELEVANT COUNCIL OF EUROPE MATERIALS
A. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1271 (2002)
“In their fight against terrorism, Council of Europe members should not provide for any derogations to the European Convention on Human Rights.”
It also called on all Member States (paragraph 12) to:
“refrain from using Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (derogation in time of emergency) to limit the rights and liberties guaranteed under its Article 5 (right to liberty and security).”
Apart from the United Kingdom, no other Member State chose to derogate from Article 5 § 1 after 11 September 2001.
B. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
“I. States' obligation to protect everyone against terrorism
States are under the obligation to take the measures needed to protect the fundamental rights of everyone within their jurisdiction against terrorist acts, especially the right to life. This positive obligation fully justifies States' fight against terrorism in accordance with the present guidelines.
II. Prohibition of arbitrariness
All measures taken by States to fight terrorism must respect human rights and the principle of the rule of law, while excluding any form of arbitrariness, as well as any discriminatory or racist treatment, and must be subject to appropriate supervision.”
C. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (“ECRI”)
“to review legislation and regulations adopted in connection with the fight against terrorism to ensure that these do not discriminate directly or indirectly against persons or group of persons, notably on grounds of 'race', colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin, and to abrogate any such discriminatory legislation.”
V. THE NOTION OF A “PUBLIC EMERGENCY” UNDER ARTICLE 4 OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (“ICCPR”)
“In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.”
In Spring 1984, a group of 31 experts in international law, convened by the International Commission of Jurists, the International Association of Penal law, the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists, the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, met in Siracusa, Italy to consider the above provision, inter alia. Paragraphs 39-40 of the resulting “Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” declare, under the heading “Public Emergency which Threatens the Life of the Nation”:
“39. A state party may take measures derogating from its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights pursuant to Article 4 (hereinafter called 'derogation measures') only when faced with a situation of exceptional and actual or imminent danger which threatens the life of the nation. A threat to the life of the nation is one that:
(a) affects the whole of the population and either the whole or part of the territory of the State, and
(b) threatens the physical integrity of the population, the political independence or the territorial integrity of the State or the existence or basic functioning of institutions indispensable to ensure and protect the rights recognised in the Covenant.
40. Internal conflict and unrest that do not constitute a grave and imminent threat to the life of the nation cannot justify derogations under Article 4.”
The Siracusa Principles continue, in paragraph 54:
“54. The principle of strict necessity shall be applied in an objective manner. Each measure shall be directed to an actual, clear, present, or imminent danger and may not be imposed merely because of an apprehension of potential danger.”
“Measures derogating from the provisions of the Covenant must be of an exceptional and temporary nature.”
VI. OTHER MATERIALS CONCERNING NON-DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE IN NATIONAL SECURITY CASES
“Last but not least, a fair hearing requires that the affected person be informed of the case against him or her, and be permitted to respond to it.”
That right was not absolute and might be limited in the interests of national security (§§ 57-58) but (§ 64):
“... The judge is therefore not in a position to compensate for the lack of informed scrutiny, challenge and counter-evidence that a person familiar with the case could bring. Such scrutiny is the whole point of the principle that a person whose liberty is in jeopardy must know the case to meet. Here that principle has not merely been limited; it has been effectively gutted. How can one meet a case one does not know?”
“We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government's factual assertions before a neutral decision-maker [authority cited]. 'For more than a century the central meaning of procedural due process has been clear : Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard; and in order that they may enjoy that right they must first be notified ...' These essential constitutional promises may not be eroded.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION AND ARTICLE 13 TAKEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 3
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
They further complained that they were denied an effective remedy for their Article 3 complaints, in breach of Article 13 of the Convention, which states:
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
A. The parties' submissions
1. The applicants
2. The Government
B. The Court's assessment
Since Article 13 requires the provision of a domestic remedy in respect of “arguable complaints” under the Convention (see, for example, Ramirez Sanchez v. France [GC], no. 59450/00, § 157, ECHR 2006-IX), it follows that the second applicant's complaint under Article 13 is also manifestly ill-founded.
Both these complaints by the second applicant must therefore be declared inadmissible.
2. The merits
a. General principles
b. Application to the facts of the present case
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
However, in their written observations to the Grand Chamber, dated 11 February 2008, the Government indicated for the first time that they wished to argue that the applicants' detention did not in any event give rise to a violation of Article 5 § 1 because the United Kingdom's derogation under Article 15 was valid.
“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person ... against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.”
Article 15 of the Convention states:
“1. In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under [the] Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.
2. No derogation from Article 2, except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3, 4 (§ 1) and 7 shall be made under this provision.
3. Any High Contracting Party availing itself of this right of derogation shall keep the Secretary General of the Council of Europe fully informed of the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefore. It shall also inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe when such measures have ceased to operate and the provisions of the Convention are again being fully executed.”
A. The parties' submissions
1. The applicants
2. The Government
3. The third party, Liberty
B. The Court's assessment
1. The scope of the case before the Court
3. The merits
a. Whether the applicants were lawfully detained in accordance with Article 5 § 1(f) of the Convention
b. Whether the United Kingdom validly derogated from its obligations under Article 5 § 1 of the Convention
i. The Court's approach
Nonetheless, Contracting Parties do not enjoy an unlimited discretion. It is for the Court to rule whether, inter alia, the States have gone beyond the “extent strictly required by the exigencies” of the crisis. The domestic margin of appreciation is thus accompanied by a European supervision. In exercising this supervision, the Court must give appropriate weight to such relevant factors as the nature of the rights affected by the derogation and the circumstances leading to, and the duration of, the emergency situation (Ireland v. the United Kingdom, cited above, § 207; Brannigan and McBride v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 26 May 1993, § 43, Series A no. 258; Aksoy, cited above, § 68).
ii. Whether there was a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation”
Iii Whether the measures were strictly required by the exigencies of the situation
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 1 TAKEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION
Article 14 provides:
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”
IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 4 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”
The Government denied that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4.
A. The parties' submissions
1. The applicants
2. The Government
3. The third party, Justice
B. The Court's assessment
2. The merits
a. The principles arising from the case-law
“attaches significance to the fact that, as the intervenors pointed out in connection with Article 13, ... in Canada a more effective form of judicial control has been developed in cases of this type. This example illustrates that there are techniques which can be employed which both accommodate legitimate security concerns about the nature and sources of intelligence information and yet accord the individual a substantial measure of procedural justice”.
b. Application to the facts of the present case
V. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 1 IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 13
VI. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 5 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.”
B. The merits
VII. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
VIII. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
The Government contended that an award of just satisfaction would be neither necessary nor appropriate in the present case.
1. The applicants' claims
2. The Government's submissions
3. The Court's assessment
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, EUR 3,900 (three thousand nine hundred euros) to the first, third and sixth applicants; EUR 3,400 (three thousand four hundred euros) to the fifth applicant; EUR 3,800 (three thousand eight hundred euros) to the seventh applicant; EUR 2,800 (two thousand eight hundred euros) to the eighth applicant; EUR 3,400 (three thousand four hundred euros) to the ninth applicant; EUR 2,500 (two thousand five hundred euros) to the tenth applicant; and EUR 1,700 (one thousand seven hundred euros) to the eleventh applicant, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) to the applicants jointly, in respect of costs and expenses, EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants;
(c) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points (paragraphs 249-257);
Done in English and in French, and delivered at a public hearing in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 19 February 2009.
Michael O'Boyle Jean-Paul Costa
Deputy Registrar President