Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A small victory for justice: Abu Rideh

UK: Control orders- Abu Rideh granted document to leave the country, decision welcomed by Amnesty

Amnesty International today (3 July) welcomed the Home Office's agreement to issue a travel document to Mahmoud Abu Rideh, a stateless Palestinian refugee who is under a Control Order. Subject to the Home Office formally granting him the document, for which he has now applied, Mr Abu Rideh will now be able to leave the UK and seek entry to another country.

Amnesty continues to call for Mahmoud Abu Rideh to be issued with a UN travel document, to which he should be entitled as a refugee. However in the interests of being able to leave the UK swiftly and attempt to be reunited with his family, Mr Abu Rideh has agreed to apply for an inferior document that will allow him to leave the UK and enter another country.

Amnesty International UK counter-terrorism campaigner Sara Macneice said:

'It is very welcome news that Mahmoud Abu Rideh will now be able to leave the UK and seek entry to a safe country, and will no longer be subjected to the repressive measures of his Control Order, which have driven him to utter desperation.

'I have spoken to Mr Abu Rideh and this decision has given him real hope that he may now be reunited with his wife and children, and be able to rebuild his life.

'Amnesty is supporting Mahmoud Abu Rideh's application for a UN travel document, to which he should be entitled as a refugee. However he seems willing to apply for an inferior document in order to leave the UK as soon as possible. The Home Office should issue this document to him promptly, rather than subjecting him to yet more delays.

'This is a minor victory for one man, but the pernicious system of Control Orders, which has driven him and his family out of the UK, remains in place. Amnesty continues to call for an end to the Control Order regime and its replacement with measures which respect people's basic human rights.'

Abu Rideh has had his liberty severely curtailed since 2001, when he was detained without charge under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, on suspicion of being involved in terrorism-related activity. The grounds for that suspicion were kept largely secret from him and from his lawyers. The Control Order was imposed on him immediately after his 'release' in March 2005, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

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