Thursday March 22, 2007
The number of British citizens subject to control orders issued by the home secretary, John Reid, has risen to nine, it was announced today.
It means half the 18 orders currently in force – which place terror suspects under a loose form of house arrest – are against UK citizens. Last February, only one of the orders in force was against a Briton.
In a quarterly update to MPs, Mr Reid said two new orders had been made against British citizens, with one having been enforced on December 11 and the other on March 10.
The total number of orders is constantly in flux as they lapse or are replaced or varied.
Mr Reid also confirmed that a terror suspect who absconded last summer was now believed to be overseas.
It had previously been suggested that the man – an Iraqi who can only be identified by the initials LL – would be prepared to head to Iraq, where he could pose a threat to UK forces.
“I have been informed that the individual who absconded in August 2006 is currently believed to be abroad,” Mr Reid said. “The individual in question has been excluded from the UK.”
LL vanished from his address in the north of England last August after being charged with seven offences of breaching his control order. The order was then quashed by the court of appeal in separate legal proceedings, but LL was not handed a modified version before he disappeared.
Two other men subjected to control orders remain on the run.
A British national known as AD escaped from a mental health unit in south-west London at the end of September.
The 25-year-old, who was held in Pakistan for more than six months in 2005, has reportedly been questioned about alleged links to the July 7 London bombers.
Pakistani authorities are reported to have questioned AD about an alleged meeting in Pakistan with the Aldgate bomber, Shehzad Tanweer. He is also alleged to have been a friend of the British suicide bomber Asif Hanif, who blew himself up in Israel in 2003.
The allegations against him were reported in the New York Times in July 2005, but Pakistani officials rejected the claims.
The third international terrorist on the run – believed to be a 26-year-old Pakistani who lived in Manchester – absconded in January, days after being served with his control order.
He evaded police by taking sanctuary in a mosque and slipping out of a back entrance while officers negotiated with religious leaders. The man was reported to have said he wanted to undertake terror training in Afghanistan.
Mr Reid gave no update on the two other missing terrorists.