Revealed: 20 al-Qaeda suspects on Scots hit-list
•Muslims named in M15 dossier
•80 people linked to UK ricin plot
BRITISH security services have compiled a ‘hit-list’ of 20 al-Qaeda terrorist suspects who are living in Scotland and said to be connected with a plot to unleash mass murder on the streets of the UK.
The dossier, compiled by MI5 and Special Branch, contains the names of more than 80 alleged extremists across Britain whom security services allege were involved in a plan to kill, using the deadly poison ricin.
The 20 suspects living north of the Border are all Muslims and based in the Central Belt. Some are said to be British citizens.
Nine of them are Algerians arrested and then cleared of terror-related charges following a massive police operation in Edinburgh in 2002. However, the identities of the 11 remaining suspects are known only to the security services.
The existence of the dossier has been revealed by lawyers in London and Glasgow who represent foreign nationals facing deportation and criminal charges. The list has been submitted as evidence for Algerian asylum seekers facing deportation. The lawyers argue the dossier is shared by British and Algerian security services, which means anyone on the list sent back to Algeria faces certain death, even if they have been cleared of the charges.
Henry Miller, a lawyer with London-based asylum specialists Birnberg Pierce Partners, last night confirmed "this list exists" but declined to give further details.
But a legal source close to the asylum appeals told Scotland on Sunday: "There are 20 people on this list of 82 who are living in Scotland - both men and women.
"All of them are Muslim and they live in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Some of them may have been taken in for questioning previously, or arrested. But some of them do not even know they are terror suspects.
"The number of people on the list was accurate last year, but this may have increased. They seem to have been placed on this list through their links with other people. Some are British citizens and some are seeking asylum."
Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, of Glasgow-based Beltrami Berlow solicitors, is representing some of the nine Algerians who were cleared of terror charges last year.
One of them, asylum seeker Hakim Ziem - believed to be number eight on the list - was yesterday arrested and taken to Dungavel detention centre on immigration charges.
Anwar says he now faces certain death because of his inclusion in the list, and has lodged a fresh asylum claim. He said: "None of the people on this list are terrorists. They are ordinary people who are being persecuted. The fact Ziem has not been convicted would be an irrelevance to the Algerian authorities. His arrest would be sufficient to warrant their attention. Torture and violence are committed in their battle against terrorism. This would apply to Hakim Ziem.
"Hakim is entitled to have this application treated as a fresh asylum claim because the evidence upon which it is based related to events that happened after his last appeal hearing."
Ziem, a 33-year-old former journalism student was arrested alongside his two brothers, Sofiane and Karim, in December 2002. The other six asylum seekers arrested in the swoop in Edinburgh and London are all understood to be named in the security service dossier.
It was said the ‘gang’ was using Edinburgh as a base for terrorist activities across Europe, with even the Hogmanay celebrations in Princes Street touted as a possible target.
All charges were dropped after a 1.5m investigation. The men are planning to use the fact they are on the list as a key argument in their asylum claims. Their hearings begin this week.
Their inclusion in the dossier is the clearest indication yet that MI5 and Special Branch believe they were connected to planned attacks. Scottish police sources have also indicated that the mens’ movements are still being monitored.
SNP leader John Swinney said: "The idea of 20 terror suspects at large in Scotland will no doubt cause great concern. But we must remember that terror organisations set out to terrorise us out of our way of life. We must not give in to fear."
Yesterday, Scotland Yard said only that the ricin plot is still a live inquiry. The Home Office also refused to comment.
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