- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005

LONDON — British officials said yesterday they have put hundreds of suspects under surveillance since the two bombing attacks in July.

“There are certainly hundreds of individuals we continue to watch very closely, who we believe need to be very closely surveilled because of the threat they offer,” British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said on the opening day of a parliamentary investigation.

Mr. Clarke explained that, although these suspects posed a “threat,” they were not necessarily actively plotting more terrorist attacks.

The July 7 bombings of London’s transport system killed 52 persons, plus the four suicide bombers. Bombs failed to detonate in a similar attack two weeks later.

Mr. Clarke also said he had imposed a “control order” on a Briton for the first time.

The special security measure effectively places a person under house arrest, but until now, it has only been used against foreign suspects.

Listening to the evidence at the parliamentary committee were relatives of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, who was fatally shot by British police who thought he was a suicide bomber.

London police Commissioner Ian Blair again apologized for the mistaken shooting, but reaffirmed his determination to continue a policy of “shoot to kill” when police think a terrorist suspect could be about to detonate an explosive.

Three of Mr. de Menezes’ cousins attended the session, and Mr. Blair offered to speak to them afterward to apologize personally.

Britain has announced that it will ban foreign supporters of terrorism from entering Britain and will expel “preachers of hate” and others who glorify or excuse terrorists.

Under European human rights legislation, incorporated into British law, terrorist suspects cannot be extradited or expelled to countries where there is a danger they will be tortured or abused or subjected to a death penalty.

Britain has signed a number of bilateral agreements with some Muslim nations in an attempt to prevent extradited suspects from being tortured or executed.

Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, say these agreements — the first of which was with Jordan — are not worth the paper they are written on .

In a related development, Italy’s highest court yesterday upheld the extradition to Britain of Hamdi Issac, a suspect in the failed July 21 London bombings.

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