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July 7th People's Independent Inquiry Forum > UK Terror Raids & Trials > Jurors attack deportation of ricin plot suspect

Posted by: freedomfiles Aug 26 2006, 08:49 AM
Jurors attack deportation of cleared 'ricin plot' suspect
Robert Verkaik / London Independent | August 25 2006

Three of the jurors who helped clear four men of taking part in an alleged ricin terror plot have spoken of their dismay at a judge's ruling that one of the suspects should be returned to Algeria.

Mr Justice Ouseley, rejecting an appeal brought against the Home Office, said that a man known as "Y" represented a danger to national security because of his links to terror groups.

The judgment is expected to give the green light to the Government, which wants to deport 15 more Algerian men despite evidence presented by human rights groups that they face torture on their return.

The jurors, who heard the case against Y at the Old Bailey last year, said they believed the suspect was the victim of an unjust sequence of events orchestrated by the Government.

Their statement, given to Amnesty International, said: "As three members of the public, we have had our eyes opened to such an unfair sequence of events orchestrated by the authorities that we feel compelled to speak out. This is contrary to anything we thought could be possible in a democratic society."

Y was acquitted of involvement in the so-called "ricin plot" to distribute the deadly toxin on car door handles in Holloway Road, north London. Lawyers for Y say he is subject to a death sentence passed in Algeria in his absence for terrorism-related offences. Under human rights law, suspects cannot be deported to countries where they may face torture or ill-treatment. The Government has been seeking diplomatic assurances from the Algerian government that anyone returned there will not be harmed.

In its judgment, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) said: "We give some weight to the assurances received in December 2005 about how he would be treated were he returned to face a retrial ... and to the verbal assurances which have been received. Y'spresence as an extremist supporter shows that he is a risk to the UK's national security and should be deported."

An Amnesty International spokeswoman, Nicola Duckworth, said: "Given the extensive evidence before Siac that Y would face a real risk of torture if deported to Algeria, today's decision can only be described as an affront to justice, and wrong."

Y's solicitor, Gareth Peirce, said: "In one fell swoop the UK has undermined its binding obligations to oppose torture on the basis of a diplomatic nod and a wink."

See also :

Extremist cleared of ricin charges can be deported
By Sean O’Neill,,200-2328018,00.html

United Kingdom: Algerian national security deportation an affront to justice and a green light to torture
Press release, 08/24/2006

Posted by: numeral Feb 20 2007, 12:53 AM

Corrected version: this article has been restored to the website after being removed and corrected following a legal complaint

Yesterday's trial collapse has exposed the deception behind attempts to link al-Qaida to a 'poison attack' on London

Duncan Campbell
Thursday April 14, 2005
The Guardian

Colin Powell does not need more humiliation over the manifold errors in his February 2003 presentation to the UN. But yesterday a London jury brought down another section of the case he made for war - that Iraq and Osama bin Laden were supporting and directing terrorist poison cells throughout Europe, including a London ricin ring.

Yesterday's verdicts on five defendants and the dropping of charges against four others make clear there was no ricin ring. Nor did the "ricin ring" make or have ricin. Not that the government shared that news with us. Until today, the public record for the past three fear-inducing years has been that ricin was found in the Wood Green flat occupied by some of yesterday's acquitted defendants. It wasn't.

The third plank of the al-Qaida-Iraq poison theory was the link between what Powell labelled the "UK poison cell" and training camps in Afghanistan. The evidence the government wanted to use to connect the defendants to Afghanistan and al-Qaida was never put to the jury. That was because last autumn a trial within a trial was secretly taking place. This was a private contest between a group of scientists from the Porton Down military research centre and myself. The issue was: where had the information on poisons and chemicals come from?

The information - five pages in Arabic, containing amateur instructions for making ricin, cyanide and botulinum, and a list of chemicals used in explosives - was at the heart of the case. The notes had been made by Kamel Bourgass, the sole convicted defendant. His co-defendants believed that he had copied the information from the internet. The prosecution claimed it had come from Afghanistan.

I was asked to look for the original source on the internet. This meant exploring Islamist websites that publish Bin Laden and his sympathisers, and plumbing the most prolific source of information on how to do harm: the writings of the American survivalist right and the gun lobby.

The experience of being an expert witness on these issues has made me feel a great deal safer on the streets of London. These were the internal documents of the supposed al-Qaida cell planning the "big one" in Britain. But the recipes were untested and unoriginal, borrowed from US sources. Moreover, ricin is not a weapon of mass destruction. It is a poison which has only ever been used for one-on-one killings and attempted killings.

If this was the measure of the destructive wrath that Bin Laden's followers were about to wreak on London, it was impotent. Yet it was the discovery of a copy of Bourgass's notes in Thetford in 2002 that inspired the wave of horror stories and government announcements and preparations for poison gas attacks.

It is true that when the team from Porton Down entered the Wood Green flat in January 2003, their field equipment registered the presence of ricin. But these were high sensitivity field detectors, for use where a false negative result could be fatal. A few days later in the lab, the team found that there was no ricin. But when this result was passed to London, the message reportedly said the opposite.

The planned government case on links to Afghanistan was based only on papers that a freelance journalist working for the Times had scooped up after the US invasion of Kabul. Some were in Arabic, some in Russian. They were far more detailed than Bourgass's notes. Nevertheless, claimed a government scientist, they showed a "common origin and progression" in the methods, thus linking the London group of north Africans to Afghanistan and Bin Laden.

The weakness of that case was that neither the scientist nor the intelligence services had examined any other documents that could have been the source. We were told Porton Down and its intelligence advisers had never previously heard of the "Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, containing recipes for ricin and much more". The document, written by veterans of the 1980s Afghan war, has been on the net since 1998.

All the information roads led west, not to Kabul but to California and the US midwest. The recipes for ricin now seen on the internet were invented 20 years ago by survivalist Kurt Saxon. He advertises videos and books on the internet. Before the ricin ring trial started, I phoned him in Arizona. For $110, he sent me a fistful of CDs and videos on how to make bombs, missiles, booby traps - and ricin. We handed a copy of the ricin video to the police.

When, in October, I showed that the chemical lists found in London were an exact copy of pages on an internet site in Palo Alto, California, the prosecution gave up on the Kabul and al-Qaida link claims. But it seems this information was not shared with the then home secretary, David Blunkett, who was still whipping up fear two weeks later. "Al-Qaida and the international network is seen to be, and will be demonstrated through the courts over months to come, actually on our doorstep and threatening our lives," he said on November 14.

The most ironic twist was an attempt to introduce an "al-Qaida manual" into the case. The manual - called the Manual of the Afghan Jihad - had been found on a raid in Manchester in 2000. It was given to the FBI to produce in the 2001 New York trial for the first attack on the World Trade Centre. But it wasn't an al-Qaida manual. The name was invented by the US department of justice in 2001, and the contents were rushed on to the net to aid a presentation to the Senate by the then attorney general, John Ashcroft, supporting the US Patriot Act.

To show that the Jihad manual was written in the 1980s and the period of the US-supported war against the Soviet occupation was easy. The ricin recipe it contained was a direct translation from a 1988 US book called the Poisoner's Handbook, by Maxwell Hutchkinson.

We have all been victims of this mass deception. I do not doubt that Bourgass would have contemplated causing harm if he was competent to do so. But he was an Islamist yobbo on his own, not an Al Qaida-trained superterrorist. An Asbo might be appropriate.

· Duncan Campbell is an investigative writer and a scientific expert witness on computers and telecommunications. He is author of War Plan UK and is not the Guardian journalist of the same name

See also:

Posted by: numeral Mar 27 2007, 06:44 PM
Last updated at 15:29pm on 27th March 2007

An Algerian cleared of a deadly poison plot in Britain remains a threat to national security because he is so laid-back about the Islamic extremists he associates with, a tribunal was has been told.

The claim lies at the heart of the Home Secretary's bid to deport Mouloud Sihali, who was cleared at the Old Bailey in 2002 of involvement in a Ricin plot to poison thousands of Londoners.

Sihali was a "sympathiser and a trusted associate", a witness for the Home Secretary told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) in central London.

Giving evidence behind a screen the witness, identified only as E, told the hearing it is "difficult to believe Sihali was ignorant" of the activities of two of his former flatmates.

"Even if he was in ignorance, the national security case against him still stands," witness E said.

"In being so undiscerning he has provided significant support to active terrorists.

"It is the Secretary of State's case that he will continue to provide a danger to national security should he remain in the UK for those reasons."

One terror suspect sought refuge with Sahali and David Aisa Khalef at their flat in Ilford, east London, after he escaped from Yarlswood Detention Centre in February 2002, the hearing was told.

This man was "certainly conscious of and used anti-surveillance tactics" and would not have trusted just anyone with his whereabouts, according to witness E.

During this "crucial period", Sihali tried to help him with a £14,000 loan. The suspect was a fundraiser for terrorism overseas and the money had the potential to be linked to terrorism, it was claimed.

But witness E admitted: "What is less clear, it is true to say, is the extent to which the appellant (Sihali) was aware that these activities was providing assistance to terrorists."

Algerian Khalef is another cleared Ricin case defendant.

Many of witness E's claims are based on "highly speculative and highly subjective" assumptions, argued Michael Mansfield QC for Sihali.

In general there has been a "slipshod approach to this case by the Home Secretary in relation to the accuracy of material made available", he said.

Sihali arrived in Britain in 1997 and was originally arrested in 2002 amid claims he had connections with extremists.

He spent some time living at north London's Finsbury Park Mosque as radical cleric Abu Hamza rose to prominence, the tribunal was told.

Despite being acquitted Sihali was re-arrested after the London July 7 2005 bombings.

He was held in jail for four months before being released on special bail by SIAC with tough conditions similar to those placed under the Government's controversial control orders.

He is under partial house arrest and allowed outside in a small area around his home for just eight hours a day on an electric tag.

Visitors have to be approved in advance by the Home Office and he is banned from using the internet or mobile phones.

Some of the evidence against suspects in cases hear by SIAC is kept secret, even from the suspects themselves and their lawyers.

The court holds special "closed" sessions in which the suspect is represented by a vetted defence lawyer or "special advocate".

Witness E said: "By 1998 Abu Hamza had taken over Friday morning prayers (at Finsbury Park Mosque). I find it difficult to believe that someone who had been living at the mosque for two years on and off would not have come into contact with any extremists, Abu Hamza or any of his following."

Mr Mansfield argued that Sihali had not been living at the mosque for that long a period. He asked witness E: "There is no suggestion that he attended any meeting with Abu Hamza or adopted any of his views or read any literature of that kind?"

Witness E replied: "I would like to come back to this in closed session but no."

Mr Mansfield said: "There is no suggestion he had facilitated in any shape or form any political extremism or terrorism?"

Witness replied: "Not as far as I'm aware."

Posted by: numeral May 14 2007, 04:37 PM
Matt Weaver and agencies
Monday May 14, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

The government's anti-terror policy was dealt another blow today after judges ruled against deporting a man cleared of plotting to launch a poison attack on London.

Mr Justice Mitting, chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) panel in central London, said Algerian Mouloud Sihali was not a risk to national security.

But he added: "His immigration status is still uncertain."

Mr Sihali, 30, was acquitted of charges in the Ricin plot trial in April 2005, which alleged that a terror cell planned to smear the toxin on car door handles in Holloway Road, north London.

The cases of three other Algerians - identified only as U, W and Z - were dismissed. The commission ruled that the trio, one of whom was also acquitted in the Ricin plot, could be deported. All three are set to appeal against the decision and U is set to launch his Court of Appeal hearing next month.

Bail conditions on Mr Sihali, who had been tagged and given an exclusion zone, were relaxed. He must now live at an agreed address and report once a week to immigration officials.

The home secretary has 10 days to appeal and press on with his bid to send him back to Algeria.

Mr Sihali waved his right to anonymity by giving a newspaper interview when he expressed concerns about his safety if deported.

In his newspaper interview in February 2006, Mr Sihali said: "I don't know what will happen to me if I go back to Algeria. Will I be prosecuted? Will I be persecuted? That's what I fear."

He claimed he fled his homeland after refusing to perform national service, arriving in Britain in 1997.

At the time of the ricin trial, Mr Sihali admitted two counts of possessing false passports and received 15 months' imprisonment. He was released on his acquittal due to time spent on remand.

He was rearrested in September 2005 after the then home secretary signed a "no torture" agreement with Algeria.

The UK government had sought the agreement, set out in a so-called memorandum of understanding (MoU) specifically so that it could deport a number of terror suspects, including the four in court today, without breaching international human rights laws.

Those laws prevent anyone being deported to a country where they may face abuse.

The government claims Z is a leading UK-based member of the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA.

He is said to have spent two years in hiding when his arrest under the 2001 emergency internment powers seemed to be imminent, but his lawyers claim he was living openly during that period.

Z, a father of two, arrived in Britain in 1991 and later claimed asylum.

W is thought to be 35 and claims to have entered the UK illegally in 1999, applying for asylum shortly afterwards.

He was acquitted as part of the second group of defendants to face charges in connection with the ricin plot.

W claims he fled his homeland after deserting the Algerian Army in the middle of a fight against terrorists. Siac has reported that W has psychiatric problems including delusional disorders.

In all, there are thought to be 15 Algerian terror suspects facing deportation. Two, known as I and V, left Britain voluntarily last June. V had also been acquitted of involvement in the ricin plot.

Last August, an Algerian known as Y - who was also cleared of involvement in the ricin plot - lost his appeal against deportation to his homeland when Siac ruled the political situation there was "changing and stabilising".

Two years ago, three of the jurors who acquitted the Algerians in the ricin plot trial told the Guardian that they were angry at the prospect that they would be deported.

They said their not guilty verdicts appear to have been ignored and feared the men could face torture in Algeria.

Today's ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions dealing with terror suspects.

In February, the Home Office won a landmark ruling to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan on the back of a MoU.

Last month two Libyan suspects won their appeal against deportation because they risked being tortured, even though Libya was also a signatory to the MoU.

Posted by: The Antagonist Jul 31 2007, 02:14 PM

Public Statement

AI Index: EUR 45/013/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 045

United Kingdom -- Amnesty International's reaction to the judgment by the Court of Appeal in key cases in the global fight against torture

On 30 July 2007 the Court of Appeal of England and Wales gave judgment in an important test case concerning the appeals of three Algerian men against their deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds. The judgment is in two parts: an open judgment, and a closed, i.e. secret, judgment not disclosed to the appellants, their lawyers of choice or the public.

In each of the three cases the Court of Appeal ruled that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) should reconsider them. In two of the three, the Court of Appeal reached this conclusion on grounds that are secret. Amnesty International considers that it is doubly disturbing that these two men not only were not told the UK authorities' case against them, but will not now be told the grounds on which the SIAC is to reconsider that very case. The principle that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done seems to have been turned on its head.

In addition, the Court of Appeal upheld the SIAC's finding that it was appropriate to exclude those challenging their deportation and their lawyers of choice from the court even when it was considering the question of whether there were substantial grounds for believing that the individuals concerned would face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment upon return. Amnesty International is deeply disappointed at the Court of Appeal's endorsement of such a fundamentally unfair procedure, particularly when people's life and limbs are at stake. It is a grave abdication of the court's duty to uphold the fundamental rights of the individual.

SIAC had concluded that each man's deportation could take place safely and lawfully since it had found that, in the circumstances, none of them would be exposed to a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment or other grave human rights violations. These findings -- and in particular, the SIAC's conclusions about the effectiveness of diplomatic assurances obtained by the UK authorities from their Algerian counterparts in sufficiently reducing the risk of torture or other ill-treatment these men would face if deported -- were left unchallenged by the Court of Appeal in its open judgment.

Despite the glaring flaws of the SIAC's conclusions in respect of the risks that each of these individuals would indeed face if deported to Algeria, the Court of Appeal accepted those conclusions without questioning. Amnesty International considers that the fact that the Court of Appeal did not see fit to question these SIAC's findings raises a real question as to whether an effective route to challenge the UK authorities' reliance on diplomatic assurances to secure the deportations of these three men exists at all.

Nonetheless, in the case of Mustapha Taleb, the Court of Appeal found that the SIAC had been wrong in concluding that he would benefit from a particular interpretation of Algerian law without having heard any evidence in support of that conclusion. Indeed, the UK authorities were later told that that very interpretation was not one that had been or was likely to be adopted in Algeria. However, it took over a year and a lengthy appeal process for this error to be recognized by the UK courts.

While the Court of Appeal upheld the SIAC's finding in the cases of BB and U that it was safe to return them to Algeria on the basis of the assurances received by the UK authorities from their Algerian counterparts, it decided that their cases should nonetheless be remitted to the SIAC on grounds that are secret. This means that neither U nor BB, nor their lawyers of choice are privy to the Court of Appeal's reasons for sending their cases back to the SIAC.

In three previous separate rulings the SIAC endorsed the view of the UK Home Secretary and dismissed the appeal of Mustapha Taleb, an Algerian man formerly known as Y for legal reasons, and of two other Algerian men, known only as U and BB for legal reasons. The SIAC found that it was reasonable to deport each man to Algeria on the grounds that they were a threat to the UK national security and that they would not face a real risk of torture or other ill-treatment if deported to Algeria.

Amnesty International observed most of the open hearings before the SIAC and the Court of Appeal in these cases. The organization considers that forcibly returning these men would expose them to a real risk of serious human rights violations, including torture or other ill-treatment; that the purported assurances given by the Algerian authorities that the human rights of the three men will be protected are intrinsically unreliable; and that the judicial process has so far denied these men an effective opportunity to challenge the UK authorities' assertion that they are a risk to the UK's national security.

Extensive evidence, including reports by Amnesty International, documenting the risk of torture faced by individuals who are arrested by the DRS, was presented before SIAC during each man's initial appeal against deportation. SIAC disregarded this material.

Amnesty International has consistently expressed concern that the Algerian military intelligence service routinely detains and abuses people suspected of any involvement in terrorism. Even the UK government now recognizes that, if deported to Algeria, it is almost certain that these men would be held in incommunicado detention by Algeria's intelligence agency, known as the Department for Information and Security (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité, DRS). The DRS specializes in interrogating people thought to possess information about terrorist activities. It is widely known to practise torture and other ill-treatment.

Mustapha Taleb survived torture in Algeria and came to the UK, where he was recognized as a refugee. He was among those who, in 2005, in the UK, were charged, tried and eventually acquitted of all charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy to produce poisons and/or explosives. After his acquittal, in April 2005, he was released from custody where he had been since January 2003. He was later re-arrested and held pending deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds.

Along with others Mustapha Taleb appealed to SIAC against being deported to Algeria, contesting that he was a risk to the UK's "national security", and arguing that he would face a real risk of torture if returned to Algeria. Amnesty International monitored the open hearings before SIAC in his case. Despite his previous acquittal, the case against him in the open hearings consisted mostly of the same allegations made at the criminal trial, which the jury in that trial had clearly disbelieved.

In reaching its decision in Mustapha Taleb's case, SIAC relied on secret intelligence provided by the UK authorities that was withheld from him, his lawyers of choice and the public. The SIAC proceedings were profoundly unfair, denying Mustapha Taleb the right to a fair hearing and making it impossible for him to effectively refute the UK authorities' case that he was a "national security" risk.

Three of the jurors who acquitted Mustapha Taleb in the criminal proceedings expressed their shock that, despite that acquittal, the same evidence was being used in the open hearings before SIAC to "justify his deportation". The jurors wrote to Amnesty International:
As three ordinary members of the public we have had our eyes opened to such an unfair and unjust sequence of events orchestrated by the authorities that we feel compelled to speak out. This is contrary to anything we thought could be possible in a democratic, free society. Since January 2003, "Y" [Mustapha Taleb] has been persecuted by our government beyond all realms of imagination. We were three jurors on "Y"'s criminal trial (the 'no-ricin trial') and after seven months listening carefully to the evidence and arguments from the prosecution and defence, we, as a jury, acquitted him of all charges and expected that, on his release, he could begin to rebuild his life in this country.

BB has been found by the SIAC to be a "risk to national security", almost entirely on the basis of evidence presented in secret hearings, which he has been unable to know or challenge. U has also been found by the SIAC to be a "risk to national security". Although he does not accept this finding, he has, in earlier hearings, waived his right to challenge it, since he lacks confidence in the SIAC's ability to give him a fair hearing.

For more information on Amnesty International's concerns about the UK authorities' deportation attempts to Algeria, see
United Kingdom: Court of Appeal hears key case in the global fight against torture, AI Index: EUR 45/009/2007 published on 18 June 2007 and available here, and
United Kingdom: Deportations to Algeria at all costs, published on 26 February 2007, AI Index: EUR 45/001/2007,

Posted by: Kier Jan 15 2008, 04:28 PM
QUOTE (From Amnesty article above)
Mustapha Taleb survived torture in Algeria and came to the UK, where he was recognized as a refugee. He was among those who, in 2005, in the UK, were charged, tried and eventually acquitted of all charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy to produce poisons and/or explosives. After his acquittal, in April 2005, he was released from custody where he had been since January 2003. He was later re-arrested and held pending deportation to Algeria on "national security" grounds.

None of this coverage seems to be making it clear that this man is in fact still in prison to this day. This means Taleb has now been a prisoner for five years when he is guilty of no crime and has broken no laws.
I do not know about the other cleared defendants and wonder if anyone else here does?

From CagePrisoners:

Name:  Mustapha Taleb (Released)
Nationality:  Algerian
Residence:  Britain
Marital Status:  Single
Date of Arrest:  07/01/2003
Location of Arrest:  London, UK

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Mustapha Taleb is from Algeria, and was born on 28 October 1969.  Taleb was one of several men accused and subsequently acquitted in connection with the so called 'ricin plot.'

Taleb entered the UK in March 2000.  He made an application for asylum but had his request refused in January 2001.  In June 2001, Taleb appealed successfully against being refused asylum. He was granted full refugee status, with indefinite leave to remain in November 2001.

On 7 January 2003, Taleb was arrested as he visited a bank in Wood Green, and on 13 January, was charged with "possession of articles of value to a terrorist" in relation to the ricin plot.

Scotland Yard had received intelligence reports from the Algerian secret service in January 2003, which gave details of a plot to poison Britons.

These secret papers led to the ricin raids.  No ricin was actually found at the flat or at any of the addresses of the other men who were alleged to be connected to the ricin plot.

Taleb had worked in the bookshop at the Finsbury Park mosque and was the person who handled requests to use its photocopier. It was through a fingerprint on one of the recipes that had been photocopied at the mosque that he was linked with Kamel Bourgass.

On 22 January 2003, a total of eight people were charged with offences related to developing or producing a chemical weapon contrary to section one of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

In September 2004, Taleb went on trial at the Old Bailey with Kamel Bourgass, David Aissa Khalef, Mouloud Sihali, and Sidali Feddag.

But on 8 April 2005, Taleb, Khalef, Sihali and Feddag were cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.  On 13 April, the trial of four others was abandoned.

Taleb was subsequently released.

Gareth Peirce, who represented Taleb said: "He [Taleb] has never been so frightened in his life."  She said he had decided not to talk to the press after seeing the media coverage, which suggested that a big al-Qaida network had been plotting a poison attack on Britain.

As a result of the alleged ricin plot, eight innocent men were presumed guilty.  They had been held in Belmarsh prison without charge for two years and remained there throughout the trial. According to their lawyers, all suffered from varying degrees of depression.

The Home Office later apologised to the men they had placed under controversial anti-terrorist control orders, claiming it had made a 'clerical error.'

Posted by: Kier Jan 15 2008, 05:28 PM
Court approves terrorism suspects' deportation

LONDON (Reuters) - Four Arab men faced deportation after a special court dealing with foreign terrorism suspects rejected their appeals on Friday, in cases that test the balance between security and human rights.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, accepting assurances received by Britain from Algeria, dismissed arguments that three Algerian men would risk torture on returning home.

It said the fourth, a Jordanian, was protected by a 2005 agreement between Britain and Amman on the human rights of deportees, without which "he would face the real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment and even torture at the hands of agents of the Jordanian state".

The government regards the men, whom media can identify only by letters, as threats to its national security and say one of them had direct ties to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Human rights groups say that if there is evidence against them, it should put them on trial. They say assurances of fair treatment from countries with records of torture are worthless.

Gareth Peirce, a lawyer for two of the men, said they would appeal again and condemned the secrecy surrounding the court.

"We have been trapped in the vice of secret hearings, secret courts, secret decisions on appeal," Peirce told reporters, adding that the men were only prolonging their legal battle because they feared for their lives in Algeria.

"It is inconceivable that any human being would continue to run this marathon in custody if he did not absolutely fear he would face torture or death as the alternative.

"She said she had no idea of the content of confidential 'closed evidence' that formed part of the court's deliberations.


The government said the court decision recognised the value of its deportation agreements with other countries.

"These agreements strike the right balance between allowing us to deport individuals who threaten the security of this country and safeguarding the rights of these individuals on their return," Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said.

The government says one of the Algerians, U, had ties to bin Laden and backed militants behind bomb plots in 1999-2000 against Los Angeles airport and a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.

Another, Y, was tried and acquitted of a plot involving ricin poison, but later re-arrested. "Mentally he's completely crushed," said Lawrence Archer, a juror in Y's case who is now campaigning for him and has visited him in jail.

Jordan told Britain in September that its GID intelligence agency wanted to investigate the Jordanian man, VV, in connection with terrorism, including alleged links to al Qaeda commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The court said a United Nations report in January painted an "utterly deplorable" picture of torture and abuse of detainees in Jordan, and Human Rights Watch uncovered further "horrific" evidence when visiting a Jordanian prison in August.

But it said it was in Jordan's interests to keep its promise to Britain to treat deportees humanely and allow them regular visits from an independent monitor if they were detained. It was confident Amman would keep this commitment in VV's case.

Posted by: Kier Mar 6 2008, 01:52 PM
A letter from Tony McNulty in response to a letter I wrote to my MP which mentioned this case - thanks for helping with the image re-sizing, Ant.

user posted image

user posted image

user posted image

Posted by: Kier Mar 12 2008, 11:06 PM
There is an and a transcript

Posted by: The Antagonist Mar 30 2008, 06:58 PM
Kamel Bourgass PDF downloads galore:
*  Kamel Bourgass - Ricin Plot (England):

- In April 2005, Bourgass was convicted of "plotting to manufacture homemade poisons and explosives with the intention of causing fear and injury to those who come into contact with them." According to the Met Police, "the investigation established that Bourgass was part of a conspiracy largely based in London who aimed to carry out terrorist acts in this country using poisons and explosives. The necessary recipes and ingredients for making poisons were all found at the flat in Wood Green. Police were advised that the poisons and instructions were scientifically viable and potentially deadly. The amounts envisaged were small, but could easily be increased in the production process." The press release notes that "a final target has never been identified."

- In addition to his terrorism conviction, Bourgass was convicted in 2004 for "the murder of policeman Stephen Oake, the attempted murder of two of his Greater Manchester Police colleagues and the wounding of a third officer. This occurred during the arrests of Bourgass and others in a flat in Manchester in January 2003, when Bourgass made a determined attempt to escape..." He has been sentenced to life in prison.

- In July 2005, Bourgass' appeal -- challenging "what is said to have been the wrongful admission of some of the material relevant to the conspiracy case which was deployed in the murder trial -- was rejected. This filing includes Bourgass' statement on the murder of Stephen Oake: "I'd picked up the knife to scare them but they were not scared. I did not know what to do. They swarmed on me. At that split second I thought that maybe they were going to beat me to death because I held a knife. One of the officers who lunged at me did not have a baton. I do not know who I caught with the knife. It was chaos."

- The Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC commented, "the prosecution has been vindicated in its approach to this case. It was entirely right the jury was told that Bourgass knew he had left a mountain of evidence in the Wood Green flat and that this was the key motivation for him to launch his murderous attack. He was convicted of murder on overwhelming evidence."

Documents available via the Nine Eleven Finding Answers Foundation (NEFA):

Posted by: Kier Apr 6 2008, 12:17 PM
Why juries just can’t keep quiet
Defence lawyers are concerned about the long-term effects of the publicity unhappy jurors are now being given

March 18, 2008

Fiona Bawdon

There used to be two certainties about jury service: if you turned up at court in a suit and tie clutching a rolled-up copy of The Daily Telegraph, you wouldn’t be selected; and, if you were selected, you would be obliged to maintain an omertà-like silence about any cases you heard.

No longer. The former belief was probably apocryphal anyway. As for the latter, far from not being able to talk about cases, some jurors now don’t seem able to keep quiet.

Jurors are forbidden under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 from revealing anything about their deliberations, but they can talk about other aspects of the trial. Last October two jurors in the Jill Dando murder trial said on BBC television they thought they had reached the wrong conclusion at the original trial. In the light of new evidence, Barry George should not have been convicted of the TV presenter’s murder, they said (a view subsequently shared by the Court of Appeal when it ordered a retrial).

More recently, two jurors in the trial of the childminder Keran Henderson have spoken about their concerns that she should not have been convicted for shaking to death a baby in her care. One was quoted on BBC radio saying that the trial had been “an absolute shambles” and jurors had “struggled” to stay awake at times.

Mike Seckerson, the foreman in the Henderson trial, is writing a book about the case, passages of which wouldn’t be out of place in a racy crime novel (“I suss the scene: the usual boxes, benches, wigs and the ominous, anachronistic garb of Santa and his helpers, the four lawyers of the apocalypse clad in vulturous black . . .”).

Lawrence Archer, the foreman in another prominent case, the ricin terror plot, is planning a book of his own, which promises to be a rather more sober read. The ricin trial lasted six months and after a month’s deliberating, the jury acquitted four of the five men accused of plotting a terror attack. Almost immediately their verdict came under attack by the police and others in the media. “There was a suggestion in some quarters we’d been duped, that the accused had got away with it, rather than been acquitted on the basis of the evidence,” Archer says.

A month later, it was reported that the four acquitted men were to be deported to Algeria, despite concerns that they would be imprisoned or tortured on their return. Archer and some of his fellow jurors were outraged. “We felt our decision was being ignored,” he says. “We wanted justice for the guys we’d cleared. We believed they were innocent and were very, very worried about what would happen to them if they were deported.”

Since then, he and two other jurors have become increasingly vocal in their criticisms of government’s treatment of the men (threatened with deportation; held in prison; subjected to stringent control orders). He has even formed what he admits is a somewhat unlikely friendship with one of the four former defendants (“We see each other about once a week”), and visits another who is being held in Long Lartin prison.

Archer, 53, a telephone engineer who describes himself as “Mr Normal”, is more surprised than anyone at his late flowering as a political activist. “Normally, I’m quite a passive person. I don’t usually get involved in this kind of stuff,” he says mildly.

Michael Mansfield, QC, who successfully defended in the ricin case, says Archer and his fellow jurors’ spirited defence of the integrity of their verdict is “entirely responsible and courageous”.

He is less convinced, however, about the wisdom of jurors going to the media when they think that the jury came to a wrong decision. “The classic case was the O. J. Simpson trial, when the jury came out saying: ‘We had to acquit him, but we think he was guilty’.” The jury reaches a collective decision and, however well motivated, if individual jurors criticise the decision afterwards, it undermines the integrity of the jury system as a whole, he says.

Mansfield’s concerns are shared by other defence lawyers. Much of the strength of the jury system stems from its mystique, they point out. No one really knows how juries work, they just do. Jane Hickman, of Hickman Rose, cautions that if jurors start arguing among themselves in public after a verdict, opportunistic politicians will seize on this to limit their use in complex or controversial cases. “Juries’ deliberations are kept secret for very good reason and it’s in all our interests that that’s preserved,” she says.

Although some defence lawyers believe the increasing trend of jurors to go public is part of the “celebrity culture” (“they want their 15 minutes . . .”), Mansfield is more charitable. He suspects they end up talking to journalists because no one else wants to listen. He would like the appeal system reformed to include a formal channel that jurors could use to bring their disquiet about a verdict to the attention of the court.

Posted by: amirrortotheenemy Jan 7 2009, 03:01 PM
Medal at last for brave policeman

7/ 1/2009

POYNTON’S hero cop Stephen Oake, who was stabbed to death tackling an al-Qaeda terrorist, has finally been honoured – six years after his murder.

Following a campaign from the police and the public, Detective Constable Oake has been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Until now, he had been denied the award, along with the George Cross – despite his courage during an anti-terror raid in Crumpsall, North Manchester.

Dad-of-three DC Oake, 40, who lived in Poynton, was killed in January 2003 as he grappled with terrorist Kamel Bourgass. He was posthumously praised for saving the lives of three other officers.

His widow Lesley said: "This is great news. We are extremely proud that his sacrificial act of bravery has resulted in this prestigious award."

Colleagues campaigned for the officer to be given a George Cross, the highest bravery award that can be given to a civilian.

But the George Cross committee refused to award the officer either the George Cross or the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Peter Fahy, said: "The whole force is pleased that Stephen’s great bravery has been recognised.

"Clearly, there was a huge strength of feeling behind this particular case. I think it was frustrating it has taken this long. But the campaign has kept going and we are clearly very grateful for the assistance we have had from Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the Chief Inspector of the Constabulary, whose review of the evidence made clear recommendations to the Government."

Poynton parish councillor Laurence Clarke said: "We are very glad for this formal recognition of the gallantry DC Oake showed, and the supreme sacrifice he made. I am sure, too, that his family will be glad there has finally been recognition of his actions. I know there is a proud police tradition in the family – his father was a chief constable in the Isle of Man – so this will mean a lot to them."

Posthumous award for PC Oake 'too little too late'

5:31pm Tuesday 6th January 2009

By Jane Reader »

A DORSET Police leader has described an award for an officer killed in a counter terrorism operation as too little too late.

Clive Chamberlain has campaigned for recognition for DC Stephen Oake since his tragic death in 2003.

Clive, chairman of the Dorset Police Federation, even handed back his own police medals in protest due to delays in a posthumous honour.

DC Oake has now been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal but Clive said he believes he should have received higher honours.

“It is sad that it has taken nearly six years and a campaign for Stephen’s selfless act of bravery to be recognised,” he said. “I am certain that thousands believe that it should have been a George Cross, the highest award for acts of conspicuous gallantry by men and women not in the Armed Forces.”

DC Oake, a 40-year-old father-of-three and former guard to Tony Blair, was stabbed to death in a house in Greater Manchester. He was part of a team of officers trying to arrest a man in a raid linked to the discovery of deadly poison ricin in London.

His killer, terrorist Kamel Bourgass, had visited a property in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, and had also been hiding in Weymouth in the days leading up to the murder in a bid to evade arrest.

He was sentenced in 2004 to 17 years in jail for plotting to commit a public nuisance by poisons and explosives and 22 years for the murder of DC Oake.

A long-running campaign to award DC Oake the George Cross ended when the application was rejected by a Cabinet Office committee.

Hero cop honoured - at last
John Scheerhout
6/ 1/2009

HERO policeman Stephen Oake, stabbed to death tackling an al-Qaida terrorist, has finally been honoured - five years after his bravery was snubbed.

After a campaign from the police, the public, and the MEN, Det Con Oake has been awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

It was that award, along with the George Cross, that he was denied - despite his courage during an anti-terror raid in Crumpsall.

But a claim by ministers that new evidence had come to light, following a new report into the incident, was denied by GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy.

He said: "No fresh criminal evidence regarding this case has been presented to the committee."

Det Con Oake, 40, was killed in January 2003 as he tackled terrorist Kamel Bourgass.

Det Con Oake, from Poynton, was praised for saving the lives of three other officers and helping avert a terrorist attack that could have claimed hundreds of lives.

Extremely proud

His widow Lesley said: "This is great news. We are extremely proud that his sacrificial act of bravery has resulted in this prestigious award."

Colleagues campaigned for the officer to be given a George Cross, the highest bravery award that can be awarded to a civilian. But the George Cross committee sparked outrage in February 2006 by refusing to award the officer either the George Cross or even the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Clive Chamberlain, the chairman of the Dorset Police Federation, who vowed to return his service medals in disgust at the original decision, said: "I'm delighted that they have decided to recognise Stephen Oake's selfless act of bravery.

"But I'm bitterly disappointed it's taken a five-year campaign for them to grudgingly award a Queen's Gallantry Medal."

Chris Burrows, chairman of the Greater Manchester branch of the Police Federation, said: "It would have been nice had the award been made much earlier."

Chief Con Fahy said: "The whole force is pleased that Stephen's great bravery has been recognised.

He added: “There’s obviously been a campaign very much led by my predecessor, Mike Todd, and supported by police officers across the country.


"This particular award is of a particularly high level. We are pleased it has now come though.

"It was a very violent episode and Stephen Oake’s bravery has received due recognition. It is also some comfort for his family because of the stress they have been through.

"We are still one of the few forces in the world that are routinely unarmed. That’s a responsibility that British police officers carry and clearly we would hope that the honour system would recognise that and particularly the bravery of British police officers who have to demonstrate their bravery because they are routinely unarmed.

“I think police officers are today proud and pleased that an officer who has shown such bravery and who died in such tragic circumstances has been recognised for his courage.

“Clearly, there was a huge strength of feeling behind this particular case. I think it was frustrating it has taken this long.

"But the campaign has kept going and we are clearly very grateful for the assistance we have had from Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, whose review of the evidence made clear recommendations to the government.

"It’s frustrating it’s taken this long but we are glad now it has finally come through.”

When asked whether Stephen Oake deserved a George Cross, Mr Fahy added: “It’s a difficult issue.

"Clearly, we felt he did deserve a George Cross or we would not have put the application in. But it’s often a difficult matter of interpretation.

"It’s often a difficult thing to measure and evaluate. And to some degree there are people in government who are better placed to compare one incident of bravery with another where people have been given the George Cross. I think we have to be realistic about that.

"There’s a degree to which this decision-making process is shrouded in a little bit of mystery. It’s not a matter of huge public debate.”

The Cabinet Office said that following the refusal, the then Home Secretary John Reid ordered a report into the matter by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary.

As a result, the committee stood by its original decision not to award the George Cross but decided to award the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Dave Pollard, wrote: "He KNEW he was going to an address where there might be a terrorist suspect and the inherent danger that posed but CHOSE not to put on body armour on."

DC Oakes attended along with Immigration officials a routine matter of an overstayer - The "terrorist raid" is a media invention which was added later.

Charles Town, Ashton under Lyne, Lancs.
7/01/2009 at 10:30

My condolences to the Oake family and I am glad he has been decorated but I shall be unpopular in calling into question the validity of the sensationalism of these events . 2 botched raids on the basis of flawed, torture extracted evidence of every Algerian Meguerba had met in the UK, led to the death of DC Oakes. 2 convictions for 'false passport possession' and Bourgass was charged with 'conspiracy to cause a public nuisance' along with his common law crimes of injury to 3 officers and the murder of DC Oakes. '22 Castor seeds, some apple pips , a coffee grinder, paper clips and brylcreem' were all that were found, confirmed by Porton Down as 'No Ricin' and ergo, no threat to anyone. The jurors waited 7 1/2 months for the prosecutions case to close and were 'open mouthed at the total absence of any evidence of terrorism'. DC Oakes death is a tragedy of botched attempts to prop up the lies and forgeries that launched the Iraqi occupation, and eroded civil liberties, which the Ricin lie was a pivotal part of. Will the M.E.N ever report on this with just the facts of a botched raid and a tragic stabbing? R.I.P DC Oakes.

Rufus Middleton, Manchester
7/01/2009 at 00:30

I agree with Rob of Audenshaw. It`s wrong to honour Stephen Oake in this way, it demeans the actions of other police officers who do/did not have the information Stephen Oake had. He KNEW he was going to an address where there might be a terrorist suspect and the inherent danger that posed but CHOSE not to put on body armour on. All the rest of the team did, why not Stephen? PC John Egerton was stabbed to death in 1982 when he "stumbled across" someone syphoning petrol in Farnworth. He didn`t know what to expect. He was awarded the Queen`s Commendation for Brave Conduct which is one below the award to Stephen Oake. The death of both officers is a tragedy but Stephen Oake`s could so easily have been avoided.

Dave Pollard,
6/01/2009 at 21:54

What happened with the investigation into this?

If memory serves me right they didn't have body armour, didn'r handcuff the suspect and told him to wait in the kitchen (near a drawer with kinves etc).

Good to hear he has got a medal but too little too late really.

Audenshaw Bob,
6/01/2009 at 14:27

Devil's A, Steve's dad was a Chief Constable [Robin Oake, former Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Constabulary] and despite Tony Blair's efforts it still did not happen.

Now we have a more interesting debate, what about those personnel who have been killed in the line of duty from the army, RAF, navy, fire service etc, when do they become recognised as 'hero's'.

Some people's stories are pushed and others not, esch of them true heroes and representing this country to ensure the country's safety and those within it.

Ms Piggy, Muppet land
6/01/2009 at 14:06

Force admits failures before officer's death

By Ian Herbert, North of England Correspondent
Thursday, 14 April 2005

An independent investigation has criticised Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for its handling of the raid in which Detective Constable Stephen Oake was murdered.

An independent investigation has criticised Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for its handling of the raid in which Detective Constable Stephen Oake was murdered.

GMP has refused to publish the Tonbridge report into the raid, published after an investigation by Merseyside Police, but the force has acknowledged that it will not allow a repeat of a failure of the night in January 2003: the decision to let four Special Branch officers enter the flat occupied by Kamel Bourgass before it had been secured by armed tactical aid unit (TAU) officers.

GMP also conceded earlier this week that no formal command structure was in place for the raid and there was no formal risk assessment of the flat - in Crumpsall Lane, Manchester - "to ascertain the danger faced by the officers". The force admitted its errors and said they would not be repeated.

Det Con Oake's father Robin - a former GMP assistant chief constable - said his son should have been equipped with body armour. GMP now issues plain-clothes officers with "covert" protective vests. It said that body armour was available to Det Con Oake and his colleagues had they opted to wear it, but insisted that it would not have saved Det Con Oake's life. Two of his three wounds, either of which would have proved fatal, were in areas not protected by stab vests, the force said.

The police officer who has faced most criticism about the raid - codenamed Operation Salt - is the Special Branch detective who led it, known only as "Simon" for security reasons.

He admitted disciplinary offences in February of this year, in relation to the raid. He has left Special Branch for another posting, still with Greater Manchester Police. The force has refused to disclose what disciplinary penalties were imposed, although the prospect of charges against "Simon" have been rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Health and Safety Executive.

Other issues raised by Det Con Oake's death include the failure of surveillance around the Crumpsall Lane flat to establish the presence inside of more than one man; why no consideration was given to the possibility that ricin might be present; and why Bourgass had not been handcuffed in the flat.

Three officers injured in the operation, Special Branch officer "Steve", PC Nigel Fleming and Sgt Paul Grindrod, a TAU officer, have returned to work. Special Branch "John" could not return and has retired.

Forgiving his son's killer

As the BBC launches a new series on anger and its effects, we meet retired police chief Robin Oake, who says he has forgiven the man who murdered his son.

In January 2003 Robin Oake, a retired police chief from Shrewsbury, received a phone call to say his son, Stephen, had been murdered. Stephen Oake, who was also in the police force, had been stabbed to death during an anti-terror raid in Manchester.

Robin says he was stunned by the news: "He was a wonderful son... he was very brave in his duties... a man who just enjoyed his job, but he also enjoyed his family... he lived for other people".

"I was alone because my wife was in Manchester... I had a few friends to help and a night of sleeplessness to try and prepare for a press conference which was inevitable the next morning... it was very very painful as you can imagine".

At the press conference Robin Oake was asked what he thought about his son's killer: "It took an awful long time to answer it, I know the silence probably seemed longer to me than others, but I was praying... 'Lord give me the right words here' and that's why I said I forgive him".

Stephen Oake was 40 and a Detective Constable with Special Branch when he was murdered during the arrest of a terror suspect in a Manchester flat. His killer, Kamel Bourgass, an Algerian, was jailed for life in June 2004.

In 2005 Bourgass was convicted of plotting to use poisons - including ricin - to cause disruption, fear or injury.

Stephen Oake was a Baptist and he and his family attended Poynton Baptist Church in Cheshire.

His father, Robin, is also a Christian. The former Chief Constable of the Isle of Man Constabulary says God was with his son when he died: "He was there with him... and Steve at that moment was certainly in the presence of Christ".

Robin says he believes forgiveness is possible in every situation in life where someone has been hurt or accused. He says it's part of the healing process: "It's taken from us the bitterness and the anger that we might have had and we might still have... we've been healed from that".

Since his son's death, Robin has written a book Father Forgive, published by Authentic Media in 2008, giving his account of that period in his life and the reasons for his forgiveness: "I did mean it, I do mean it and I actually pray for the man who was convicted of Steve's killing every day, every morning when I get up".

Robin Oake says he has a completely new direction in his life now helping bereaved people, especially those who have lost children: "out of the tragedy has come triumph... helping people... has become part of our counsel".


Tributes for Stephen Oake

15/ 1/2003

DETECTIVE Constable Stephen Oake served the people of Greater Manchester for more than 18 years.

On Wednesday, his family, friends and colleagues were in mourning as tributes poured in for the brave and dedicated officer.

Dc Oake, from Poynton, Cheshire, was also a devoted husband and father to three children - a 15-year-old son, and two daughters aged 14 and 12.

His distraught wife Lesley had to break the devastating news to the children that their dad would not be coming home.

Dc Oake, a committed Christian and regular churchgoer, joined GMP in July 1984. But the job was already in his blood. His father Robin, 65, was Chief Constable on the Isle of Man and before that, a deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police.

Dc Oake worked in uniform in South Manchester for 15 years before being transferred to Special Branch in 1999, working at Manchester Airport in the forefront of the fight against terrorism.

During 2002, he was commended for his work on the planning of VIP protection at the Commonwealth Games.

Det Chief Supt Bernard Postles said: "Steve was a thorough, competent and conscientious officer who had a strong desire to get on with the job he loved.

"He was proud to be a police officer and always gave 110 per cent. This is evidenced by several letters from members of the public to his senior officers, in which they wanted to record their thanks.

"His colleagues regarded him as a thoroughly reliable workmate. One of them referred to the fact that if you wanted a job doing you asked Steve because you knew he would get it done.

"He was what is known in police circles as a prolific thief taker, whose tenacity is legendary in Greater Manchester Special Branch. That tenacity led to Steve giving his life for the public he was proud to serve."

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Michael Todd, who only joined the force in October, was in London when the tragedy happened and immediately returned to Manchester.

Posted by: Sinclair Jan 7 2009, 06:45 PM

Special Branch officer admitted blunders
Ian Wylie
15/ 4/2005

SENIOR Manchester police officers faced possible charges of corporate manslaughter following the death of Stephen Oake.

After a full criminal investigation, Merseyside Police decided not to proceed with the prosecution of Greater Manchester Police - or of any officer involved in Operation Salt.

But the Old Bailey heard that Special Branch Chief Insp Simon, the officer in charge, was to be the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings, involving breaches of police regulations.

These have since been concluded and Chief Insp Simon pleaded guilty to two counts of misconduct at the hearing.

The main charge alleged he was "not conscientious and diligent in the performance of your duty" in respect of "planning and management of events that culminated in the death of Det Con Oake".

Chief Insp Simon was accused of failing to adequately plan the arrest operation. In particular, he was alleged to have failed to ensure the completion of a documented risk assessment and operational order, and to identity and consider risks.

It was also alleged that he failed to adequately plan, prepare and deliver briefings and failed to give clear instructions on arrest strategy, contingency plans and in relation to searching, safety and security.

These failings, it was claimed, led to uncertainty and confusion at the scene. Chief Insp Simon told the court he intended to plead not guilty to all charges. He later changed his mind and on February 15 this year pleaded guilty to two charges. The disciplinary panel endorsed the plea but decided there was "no requirement for sanction".

The panel which decided not to punish Chief Insp Simon said: "The panel endorses the guilty plea put forward by the officer but unanimously are of the view that there is no requirement to impose an actual sanction.

"In conclusion, the panel would like to formally acknowledge that there has been nothing placed before us today in evidence that places any responsibility for the tragic death of DC Stephen Oake at the door of SB Simon.

"We hope that our findings today will bring some degree of closure to SB Simon at both a professional and personal level and allow him to continue with his career."

ACC Whatton said the actions of other officers examined by Merseyside Police when they looked at how the operation had been planned had been "exonerated".

Chief Insp Simon's briefing to officers at Collyhurst Police station, just minutes before police teams set off for Crumpsall Lane, was just one subject of criticism. Tactical Aid Unit Pc Ian Brookes told the Merseyside Police inquiry: "The briefing was probably the poorest I've received since being a police officer."


Pc Brookes said he could not hear what was being said by Chief Insp Simon.

Special Branch officer Det Con Gail said: "I, personally, felt that we weren't consulted as freely as we normally would be. We weren't really aware of why decisions were being taken."

Officers had to change the nature of the operation once they discovered Kamel Bourgass inside Flat 4, along with the original target of the swoop and a third man.

Det Con Gail explained the dilemma faced by officers. "We'd gone there to do one job and ended up with a separate job. The situation changed drastically."

A number of things went wrong after police entered the first-floor address, eating up yet more time. This left Stephen Oake guarding what turned out to be a ticking human timebomb.

Arrangements had been made to take the original target to Strangeways Prison. But it soon became clear that Strangeways was declining to accept him.

Cells then had to be found for all three prisoners at a specially designated police station - Collyhurst - which involved removing every single prisoner so sterile cells could be provided for the terrorist suspects.

None of the uniformed TAU officers involved in the raid were told of the significance of the arrests..

Acting on a "need to know" basis, Special Branch officers were working "without a shred of protection" themselves, so judged the risk to the uniformed officers as "modest".

Chief Insp Simon had taken up his, then, position in Manchester Special Branch some six months before the Crumpsall Lane tragedy. He spoke of logistical problems at the scene, including communication difficulties.

Simon told the murder trial he was aware of "severe criticisms" of both his conduct and management of the operation. But he maintained just one man was responsible for the death of Stephen Oake - Kamel Bourgass.

Posted by: Bridget Feb 18 2009, 11:04 PM
Cop killer Kamel Bourgass plots poison terror strike from cell - Exclusive

user posted image
Osama bin Laden's "master poisoner" is planning terror outrages from his jail cell.

Home Office documents seen by the Mirror reveal Kamel Bourgass is recruiting extremist prisoners to communicate with undercover al-Qaeda operatives.

Bourgass, 33, is already serving life for murdering a police officer.

Held in segregation at a topsecurity jail, Bourgass is being monitored by secret services after evidence was found of a plot involving a "quantity of cyanide".

Reports suggest he was using other inmates at Wakefield prison, West Yorks, their relatives and friends to link with al-Qaeda terrorists in London, where the poison was hidden. A source said: "Bourgass has tried to use cyanide before and appears intent on masterminding another attack, even from behind bars.

"He was taken out of circulation on the wing because we believe he was using others to get information to al-Qaeda operatives on the outside.

"Even locked up he remains a real threat to the public."

He is also linked to Abu Musabal-Zarqawi, who beheaded Briton Ken Bigley in Iraq. Convicted of killing Det Con Stephen Oake, 40, during a police raid on a flat in Manchester in 2003, Bourgass is still described in Home Office reports as a "risk to life and state".

After Bourgass was locked up in 2004, Scotland Yard's anti-terror chief Peter Clarke said Britons had been spared an "absolutely terrifying" attack.

Police found four sets of poison recipes at his flat, including ricin and cyanide.

He was convicted of conspiracy to cause public nuisance with poisons and explosives but a charge of conspiracy to murder was left on file.

Now in jail, offender assessments reveal Bourgass "refused to co-operate" with the authorities for the past 13 months.

He is said to be prepared to "use weapons and extreme violence", and a report continues: "He has extreme beliefs, re. links to a terrorist cell in London and possession of explosives."

One document states: "There have been reports he has been involved on the wing in discussing extremist views, hence the recent move to segregation."

Intelligence suggests Kamel Bourgass is a false identity and "has only ever been an alias".

Authorities believe they have traced his mother in Algeria, who is named as Jamia Balhania.

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