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UK terror suspect granted bail

Great Britain
Acts of terror

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A Palestinian man, detained without trial under Britain's controversial anti-terror laws for three years, has been granted bail, the government has said.

But the UK Home Office said Monday that Mahmoud Abu Rideh would not be freed until bail conditions were worked out.

Rideh is one of 12 foreign nationals still being held under legislation passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.

He was granted bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a spokesman told CNN.

The spokesman said the Home Office would not oppose bail for Rideh but "we will argue that the conditions imposed must be appropriate to address the threat that he poses."

The spokesman added that bail conditions would be determined at a future SIAC hearing, the date of which had yet to be decided. As a result, the spokesman could not say when Rideh would be released from prison.

News of Rideh's possible release comes days after Home Secretary Charles Clarke said detention of terror suspects without trial in Britain would be replaced with a system of "control orders." (Full story)

Clarke revealed plans last Wednesday for what could amount to a form of house arrest a month after Britain's top court ruled against the continued detention of nine of the 12 foreign terrorist suspects held without trial.

Rideh, who was born in Jordan to stateless Palestinian parents, traveled to Britain in 1995, and was given refugee status three years later, according to court documents seen by Reuters news agency.

He was arrested in December 2001 with then-Home Secretary David Blunkett stating he was "an active supporter of various terrorist groups, including those with links to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network."

Rideh was held after his arrest at Belmarsh Prison in southeast London but was transferred due to psychiatric problems to Broadmoor Hospital, a top security unit near London, according to the Press Association.

Amnesty International's Stephen Bowen gave a cautious welcome to the decision. "Bail conditions are obviously likely to be better than detention without trial but they are still likely to fall a long way short of fairness and basic human rights standards," he told PA.

"Mr. Abu Rideh should never have been subjected to indefinite detention in the first place and his mental health appears to have suffered as a result of these grossly unfair measures."

He added: "Our view is still that the Belmarsh system of detention without trial was fundamentally wrong and the envisaged replacement system of house arrests is also wrong.

"The home secretary should show some faith in the justice system. If someone has done something wrong, charge them and give them a fair trial. Locking them in their homes is not the answer."

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