En route to ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’

THE case in Strasbourg hinged on the judges’ opinion of the “supermax” high security prison in Florence, Colorado.

The jail, which has been dubbed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies” is where the six men fear they will end up.

It already houses some of America’s most notorious terrorist prisoners, including Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and Ramzi Yousef, who were convicted in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid, who had attempted to blow up a passenger jet.

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Lawyers for the six argued that the largely solitary confinement and 23 hours a day spent in cells – along with some of the extraordinarily long sentences the men are believed to expect – would violate their human rights.

However, based on evidence from the US Department of Justice, the judges disagreed.

In their judgment, they said: “In particular, not all inmates convicted of international terrorism were housed at ADX and, even if they were, sufficient procedural safeguards were in place, such as holding a hearing before deciding on such a transfer.”

On the jail’s “restrictive conditions and lack of human contact”, they added: “The court found that, if the applicants were convicted as charged, the US authorities would be justified in considering them a significant security risk and in imposing strict limitations on their ability to communicate with the outside world.”