An asylum seeker who became caught up in terror plot allegations has been awarded £500 compensation for a human rights breach over providing him with suitable accommodation while he fights deportation.
The 44-year-old Algerian, referred to as Y, was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK in November 2001 after claiming asylum.
He stood trial at the Old Bailey with others accused of plotting to spread the deadly poison ricin on the streets of Britain.
He was acquitted in April 2005 but was ordered the following September to be deported on national security grounds.
He has fought removal ever since, and his case is due to go to the Court of Appeal early in the new year. His lawyers have indicated that, if he loses, he will continue the legal battle in the European Court of Human Rights.
He was allowed bail in July 2008 to an address on the outskirts of Bedford while the courts decide his fate – a process which could take years.
He argued he should be located in London, where he knew people, to avoid becoming isolated.
Home Secretary Theresa May took the view it was necessary that he should live in a town distant enough to make it difficult for him to “re-engage with former associates”. The reasons, provided by security services, were kept secret.
Later, in June 2011, after Y launched a legal challenge, a professor of neuropsychiatry said in his opinion Y was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder greatly exacerbated by his social isolation.
Mr Justice Mitting, then president of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, gave Y permission to seek judicial review and commented that the expert medical opinion showed Y’s psychological and physical condition had both deteriorated and his case should be reconsidered as his human rights were “in issue”.
Mr Justice Foskett said the message sent by Mr Justice Mitting to the Home Secretary was “unmistakable” and Y was eventually moved from Bedford to London, where he had since lived
But Y continued to seek damages under the Human Rights Act on the grounds there had been a disproportionate interference with his right to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The judge ruled he was entitled to a payout because there had been “a degree of dragging of feet” by the Home Secretary and “unnecessary delay” from the date of the June 2011 medical report until the following November.
The judge said once the June 2011 medical report had been received there was “a very strong case” for moving Y to London.
He ruled he was entitled to a “modest” award of £500 to reflect the fact that it had taken “two months longer than it should have done” to secure him his new address.