Terrorist suspects must stay in Britain in case they are tortured at home, say human rights judges
Britain could be stuck with more than a dozen international terror suspects after a devastating ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
Judges said the right of a fanatic to be protected from torture in his homeland was "absolute".
They rejected arguments that, in trying to deport an extremist to a country with a history of torture, the rights of British citizens to be protected from attack in their homeland should be considered, too.
The court also cast doubt on agreements Britain has been trying to secure with countries in the Middle East to allow the deportation of the likes of hate preacher Abu Qatada, known as Osama bin Laden's ambassador in Europe.
The Strasbourg judges said guarantees from countries such as Tunisia and Jordan they would not torture any terror suspect deported by the UK may not be acceptable.
The blow came in a ruling against an attempt by the Italian government to deport a terror suspect to Tunisia.
Britain had "intervened" on the crucial case, in an effort to establish it could deport more than a dozen terror suspects being held in secure jails.
The court described as "misconceived" the UK and Italian arguments that the risk to a terror suspect should be balanced against the risk they pose to innocent civilians.
Judges instead said the terror suspect had an "absolute" right to protection from torture - and this must come first.
It effectively upheld an earlier judgement blamed by ministers for our woeful failure to deport extremists.
1) Terrorist suspects must stay in Britain in case they are tortured at home, say human rights judges