Algerian citizen Detainee Z came to the UK in order to study for a Masters degree in engineering, however while here the situation in Algeria, in the summer of 1991, had become dangerous to such an extent that his family encouraged him to remain until things became safer.
Before being arrested Detainee Z was working morning to evening to help his family. He worked in property repairs – plumbing and DIY.
Arrest and Allegations
After the attacks on 7 July 2005, Z was detained with many other foreign nationals under immigration laws with the claim that they were a threat to national security. However it was never explained to Z why he was considered as such.
He was not shown any evidence either due to “national security” – it was kept secret.
No actual allegations were laid against him.
Deportation Order and Memorandum of Understanding
Z was told that he was being placed on a deportation order due to the risk of him being a threat. The government has sought to agree a Memorandum of Understanding with Algeria in order to have the Algerian foreign nationals returned to their country of origin. According to Z,
“Well, they try to say 'okay, we don't say that it is not a country which has been recognised by all the N.G.O.'s, that they use torture and mistreatment of detainees in prison' and so on. But, we try to get some sort of assurances from them, that these people will be well treated and respected with human rights and we will use mechanisms like with other third party N.G.O's to monitor them. But, it's all… I don't think it is acceptable. I mean how can you monitor if someone is being tortured? How can you force this memorandum?”
In his SIAC hearing, even though the UK did not manage to get a memorandum of understanding with Algeria, it was ruled on 14 May 2007 in that Z could still be deported there.
On arrest, Z was detained in Long Lartin prison where he remained for two and a half years.
He was put in a claustrophobic small unit with a small number of people that was built for segregation, which affected his mental health. He finds it difficult to read and is losing his eyesight because of the poor lighting
Release on strict Immigration Bail Conditions and Effect on Family
Z had his bail applications rejected until finally, when the Home Office were told that if they wanted to oppose Z’s bail they would have to explain themselves. Rather than bringing someone from the security services the Home Office decided it would not oppose the bail application.
Therefore, despite the difficulty of the appeals process Z was released on bail. However this was only to be placed under strict immigration bail conditions which deny him the ability to travel one mile beyond his home and also limit his movement outside of his house to five hours in the day. Living with his wife and two children they have also become effectively subject to his immigration bail order and are very much limited by the conditions placed on him.
“Some of the conditions are nothing to do with security; I mean to restrict your movements, whatever, their main purpose to punish you and to punish your family, first of all. Because one of the conditions is that I’m allowed out for two hours, within certain hours, then I have to come back and take another two hours within the boundaries, which basically is about one mile, with a tag, and every time I have to leave, I have to call this tagging company to let them know that I am out, and this tagging effects only me.
With these conditions it is extremely difficult even for Z’s family to enjoy their lives, let only Z himself. His children are prohibited from owning audio players, computers, and his family cannot receive any guests without being vetted by security. The only exception to this, of course, is the police and security services that can come and search the property at any time of the day or night turning it upside down.
“...they are not only punishing me, they are punishing the children and my wife, the whole family with these conditions.”
On 29 July 2010 Z’s appeal, along with 7 others, against deportation “on grounds of national security” was lost – despite the appellants not knowing what evidence formed the deportation orders against them.
Z has maintained his innocence since the beginning and asks for the opportunity to prove wrong the allegation that he is not conducive to the public good.
The issue of whether one can be deported to Algeria relying on the promises of the Algerian government not to subject the individual to torture or other ill-treatment is currently on appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in another case. The outcome will decide whether or not Z can be deported.