Kicked out of France, Islamic terrorist lives the good life in Britain….

Judge asks: Why is this terrorist living here? Bomber kicked out by the French spends 11 years in UK

A senior judge expressed his astonishment yesterday that a terrorist thrown out by the French is now living in Britain.

A French court imposed a prison sentence and deportation order for another terror charge but when he was freed he headed straight to Britain.

Astonished: Lord Justice Ward has questioned how an Algerian terrorist who was removed from France can now be living in the UKAstonished: Lord Justice Ward has questioned how an Algerian terrorist who was removed from France can now be living in the UK

A senior judge expressed his astonishment yesterday that a terrorist thrown out by the French is now living in Britain.

The Algerian was convicted of a bomb attack in his home country but fled to France before he could face trial.

A French court imposed a prison sentence and deportation order for another terror charge but when he was freed he headed straight to Britain.

Yesterday the 11-year-old case reached the Court of Appeal, where Lord Justice Ward questioned how the man could be here after being kicked out of France.

‘It may seem astonishing to many that the French courts were able to seek to exclude this appellant, but that the United Kingdom may be obliged to tolerate his presence in our midst,’ said the judge.

‘How could that come about?’

Andrew Percy, Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, also expressed his shock.

‘This just goes to show what many of us say about the immigration system in this country,’ he said. ‘We follow the rules while other countries just ignore them.

‘Why have we taken this man when he has been kicked out by France, and why can we not send him back? In this case it looks like we could learn something from the French.’

The 49-year-old migrant – named only as AH because of fears for his safety – faces the death penalty in his homeland for his involvement in a bomb attack on Algiers airport in August 1992.

He moved to France that October and was convicted in absentia.

The Royal Courts of Justice, City of London, where Lord Ward demanded to know how a terrorist could be living in BritainThe Royal Courts of Justice, City of London, where Lord Ward demanded to know how a terrorist could be living in Britain

He applied to the French authorities for asylum but was arrested for possessing a bogus passport and for membership of a terror group.

Although cleared of the terror charge at his first trial, he was later convicted and jailed for two years.

The French court also ruled he must leave the country at the end of his sentence. It is not clear how he entered Britain where he lodged an asylum claim in October 2001.

The following month the Algerian authorities launched extradition proceedings.

But the Home Secretary ruled there was not enough evidence against AH and he was released from custody and entered the asylum system.

Officials rejected his application under a section of the Refugee Convention that allows states to deny asylum to those convicted of a ‘serious’ crime. That decision was confirmed in February 2006 and again in January 2010 by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

AH denies any involvement in terrorist activities and says he merely ‘had a nebulous connection with others who may have been involved’ in them.

But the tribunal found his offences were serious enough to deny him refugee status. Yesterday Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Rix and Lord Justice Sullivan allowed his appeal because the tribunal had made an error in applying the law over what constitutes a ‘serious crime’.

The case will now be sent back to the tribunal for more consideration, further prolonging AH’s stay in the country.

In the ruling, Lord Justice Ward said: ‘Although an ordinary word, “serious” has shades of meaning and the appropriate colour is given by the context in which the word is used. What may be serious for one purpose may not be serious for another.

‘The context here is that the crime which the refugee has committed must be serious enough to justify the withholding of the protection he would otherwise enjoy as a person having a well-founded fear of persecution and [who], owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the country of his nationality or to return to the country of his former habitual residence.’

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision and will consider our options carefully.

‘The Government … stands by its decision to deny this individual refugee status.’