LONDON – Britain’s interior ministry faced fresh embarrassment Thursday after a
seventh terror suspect disappeared despite being under strict supervision.
Tony McNulty, minister for security, counter terrorism and police at the Home Office, told members of parliament in a written statement that the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, disappeared on Monday night.
McNulty said the suspect had since November 2005 been on a control order, a
loose form of house arrest that the government introduced in 2005 over strong political opposition.
He is the seventh to disappear under such circumstances in the last year.
Britain, the United States” closest ally in the so-called war on terror, has been on high alert since July 2005 suicide bombings left 56 people dead on the London transport system.
The opposition Conservative Party has made much of what it views as Home Office failings after a series of blunders, including in May last year in which hundreds of convicted foreign criminals disappeared after their release from prison.
They should normally have been deported at the end of their sentence.
Control orders were introduced after judges ruled that holding foreign security
suspects indefinitely in prison without charge or trial — as happened after the September
11, 2001 attacks in the United States — was unlawful.
The government has consistently argued that control orders are second-best while civil liberties groups say they undermine the presumption of innocence and the right
to a fair trial.