The reality of living under a control order

This is the text of a statement made by Qavi at the House of Lords during the CAMPACC meeting on the 29th March 2006.

"For the last 10 weeks I have living with me a young man from Algeria, an asylum seeker. His name is Mouloud Sihali.

I first came across him in April 2005 when he along with others were cleared in the infamous Ricin case but continued to be held in custody on immigration charges. The Asylum & Immigration Tribunal released him on bail surety of a good Samaritan to live at my place. Four weeks later he moved to accommodation provided by NASS.

Thereafter I lost touch with him until 15th September last year. The blazing headlines announcing the arrest of a number of Algerians that morning for deportation to Algeria on grounds of national security caused to me to make enquiries about him. The door to his NASS provided accommodation, I found out, was smashed in the early hours of that morning; he was beaten up causing damage to his hip which has left him with a limp; and driven to Long Lartin prison.

The deportation, however, could not take place in absence of Algerian government's undertaking not to torture him upon return. Last December, the SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission) accepted his bail application subject to conditions but with a sting in the tail.

Living under the same roof is the best guide to a person's character and the four weeks he had spent in my flat last year left me convinced of his innocence and the soundness of his being as a person. I, therefore, offered to stand bail for him again not realising that as the Prime Minister famously put it 'the rules of the ball game have changed'.

Unlike April 2005, I had people from Home Office come to inspect my home. I was asked to agree not to allow any of my relatives, friends, neighbours to enter my flat at any time. I was to remove my computer and any other electronic communication equipment. My telephone line was to be disconnected. I must accept that my home could be entered by Home Office and Security Forces and their contractors at all hours, without notice and agree to their searching any and all of my contents and removing anything they considered suspicious and of interest. In short, I was being quarantined in my own home.

Negotiations over a 3 week long, stressfull period succeeded in my being allowed to keep my telephone line and my lap top - the later on condition that the authorities can call in at any time to inspect and remove it for up to 48 hours for examination. My grown up children were exempted from restrictions on visitors. But the rest remained. And on 17th January, 2007 I, in a manner of speaking, took 'delivery' of Mouloud Sihali.

The bail conditions imposed on Mouloud Sihali are harsher in their draconian severity. The Kafkasque nature of their application in practice I have observed for 10 weeks would have been farcical but for its psychological trauma on him. There is no rationale for subjecting him to what he has been made to suffer.

The drama of his and others arrest in the early hours of 15th September, 2005 from a place provided by Home Office, the orchestrated media frenzy surrounding the event - I ask myself, were these the preferred props for setting the stage for the announcement the Home Secretary made later that day? The announcement he made concerned the details of the new Terrorism Bill, one of whose provisions was 90 days detention of all and sundry the Security Services suspected of being a risk to national security.

Is this what we have become?

How we treat others is the way we define ourselves. We cannot hope to defeat terrorism by terrorising defenceless people. Mouloud Sihali is a good man, sensitive to seeing 3 years of his life already stolen from him. He is innocent. He is not a risk to national security. I ask you to support him in getting justice under the law - not be punished on the say so of Security Services."