Ministers are powerless to deport a convicted foreign terrorist who has lived in Britain for 12 years even though he has lost a long-running legal battle for refugee status, The Telegraph can disclose.
The Muslim man, who can only be identified by the initials “AH”, fled Algeria before being sentenced to death in his absence for his role in a bomb attack on Algiers airport.
He was later convicted in France of further terrorism offences but has been able to live in Britain since 2001 after coming here as an asylum seeker.
Although France was able to expel the Algerian, British ministers are unable to deport AH because it would breach his human rights.
Senior judges have now ruled AH is not entitled to asylum, and therefore has no right to be in this country, but because he faces a “well founded fear of persecution” in his homeland he is likely to remain here indefinitely.
It is understood the 50 year-old Algerian is still in Britain and his lawyers are planning to appeal against the latest court decision, meaning more expense for the taxpayer.
AH’s case follows the saga of Abu Qatada, the radical preacher who was finally deported last month after a diplomatic deal was signed with Jordan.
The Algerian terrorist’s case provides a further example of how terrorists and other extremists are able to frustrate deportation measures for years, often at the British taxpayers’ expense.
Priti Patel, a Conservative backbench MP, said: “It’s appalling that we have individuals like this in our country.
“In light of this man’s sentence in his own country we should explore every diplomatic avenue available to us. After Qatada’s removal we should be following a similar pattern on how we negotiate with individuals’ home countries for them to take them back.”
She added: “It is simply wrong for the British taxpayer to be hosting him and being subjected to years of legal costs as well.”
AH was linked with the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) and was accused of playing a role in the Algiers airport which killed nine and injured 128. He fled the country and was convicted in his absence in 1993.
AH arrived in France on a visa but was arrested in October 1995 in connection with a “wave of terrorist incidents across France that summer”, the ruling from the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Aylum Chamber shows.
He was linked with the Lille and Lyon groups of the Groupe Islamique Armé, a breakaway group from the FIS.
The French Appeal Court convicted AH of having false documents connected with his involvement in terrorism and handed him a two year jail term.
He arrived in Britain in July 2001 and claimed asylum.
Since 2006 AH has been fighting a decision by the then home secretary to refuse asylum and humanitarian protection.
In a previous hearing, Lord Justice Alan Ward in the Court of Appeal expressed astonishment that Britain was being asked to grant asylum to a terror suspect who had already been expelled from another European Union country.
The judge said: “It may seem astonishing to many that the French courts were able to exclude this appellant, but that the United Kingdom may be obliged to tolerate his presence in our midst. How could that come about?”
If AH’s next appeal is overturned ministers are expected to seek assurances from the Algerian government that he will not face capital punishment or torture if he is returned. However, such a move could also be subject to legal challenge, as in the Qatada case.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are pleased the Upper Tribunal upheld our decision to exclude this individual from the Refugee Convention. We will now consider what further action to take.”
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