LONDON, (Reuters) – An Algerian man lost a legal challenge in a British court on Friday to his planned extradition to France over a plot to blow up a police station in Lille ahead of a 1996 summit of rich nations.
Mustapha Labsi, who was arrested in November 2000, had argued that France could transfer him to Algeria, where he says he had been mistreated by the authorities. He also says that he had already served more time in jail than any sentence likely to be imposed in France.
Last April, the British government ruled that he should be extradited to France.
Labsi is wanted for conspiring to bomb the police station in the northeastern city prior to a summit of Group of Seven leading industrialised nations held there in April 1996.
He is accused of conspiring to supply forged documents, including passports, in connection with the "preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".
In delivering his ruling, Judge Maurice Kay told the High Court in London that France”s commitment to European human rights legislation meant Labsi could not be transferred to face torture in Algeria.
He also ruled that it was still important for Labsi to stand trial, even if any sentence passed was the same or less than the amount of time he has already spent in custody.
"It is important to keep in mind that the allegations are of offences connected to terrorism," Kay said.
"In these circumstances, if the allegations are true, there is an important public interest in obtaining convictions, quite apart from the sentencing implications."
Earlier this month, Britain extradited another Algerian man, Rachid Rama, to face charges of blowing up a Paris underground railway station in 1995. The legal wrangling which delayed the extradition for years caused tensions between London and Paris.