Another control order suspect freed

By Liz Stephens

The Home Office confirmed today that a second terrorist suspect has had his control order lifted.

The suspect, known as AE, had been subject to a control order lasting three and a half years.

It is believed that the man was released because home secretary Alan Johnson would have been forced to disclose secret evidence against him that would have compromised national security.

The home secretary would have been forced to make the disclosure because of a recent House of Lords ruling that people under control orders are entitled to be given details of the allegations against them.

In a statement, the Home Office directly mentioned the House of Lords ruling as the reason for the release: “In June 2009 the House of Lords ruled that individuals subject to control orders must be given sufficient disclosure about the case against them to enable them to give effective instructions to their legal representatives.

“Where this disclosure cannot be made for the protection of the public interest, including our national security, we may be forced to revoke control orders even where we consider those orders to be necessary to protect the public from a risk of terrorism.”

The Home Office denied that the release of AE would put the public at risk: “In such circumstances we will take all steps necessary to protect the public.”

The government have continued to back control orders. In its statement, the Home Office said: “The revocation of AE’s control order does not change this assessment.”

However, less than two weeks ago, Mr Johnson asked for a second opinion on control orders.

In a written ministerial statement to parliament, the home secretary asked Lord Carlile of Berriew to “review the impact of the House of Lords judgment and to advise me as to whether the assessment that the regime remains viable is right”.

Lord Carlile’s findings will be published early next year. The high court’s consideration of further control order cases in the coming months will ‘inform’ the review, Mr Johnson added.

Lawyers for AE have said they are now looking into seeking damages from the government.

Fourteen control orders are still in place on suspects in the UK.