The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Habeas corpus: BBC will show interview with terror suspect detained without trial

The High Court has ruled that the BBC can record a filmed interview with a terror suspect who has been detained in the UK without trial for seven years.

The documentary was previously barred from production by the Ministry of Justice.

The terror suspect set to feature in the documentary is Babar Ahmed, a 37-year-old British Muslim who was arrested in December 2003 as part of a crackdown on terror suspects living within UK borders.

He was released without charge six days later, claiming to have sustained 73 separate injuries whilst in police custody.

Mr Ahmed was then rearrested in August 2004 after a request from the American Government for him to be extradited under the controversial Extradition Act 2003. Mr Ahmed has remained in custody since then.

In overturning the ban on the production of the film, the High Court said it felt that Mr Ahmed's case was so exceptional that the ban would represent a disproportionate interference with his freedom of expression.

Mr Justice Singh and Mr Justice Hooper ordered the ban to be quashed, but said that it set no precedent for any other case in terms of allowing journalists access to other UK prisoners.

The case was brought by the BBC and its home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani. Mr Casciani had been seeking to interview Mr Ahmed for a documentary, as he has now been held in a UK prison without trial longer than anyone else in modern history.

"It is because of the unusual combination of facts that the present case, in our view, justifies departure from the normal policy," said the High Court judgment.

"More than that the claimants' rights under article 10 (European Convention on Human Rights) require that departure in the exceptional circumstances of this case," it added.

Mr Ahmed is currently being detained at Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, awaiting a European Court of Human Rights ruling on whether or not he should be extradited to the US.

Related links:

Read more on the story (The Guardian)

Fair trial (FindLaw)

Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)