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Suspect in millenium plot out on bail in Britain

LONDON — A 45-year-old Algerian described by U.S. prosecutors as the mastermind of an abortive plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations in 1999 has been released on tight bail conditions after seven years in British jails, court officials said Thursday.

The release of the unidentified Algerian is the second time in a little more than two weeks that a suspect named by prosecutors as having close ties to Osama bin Laden, but who hasn't been charged, has been freed on bail in Britain pending a final court ruling on government deportation proceedings.

In June, a 47-year-old Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, described as having had a major ideological influence within al-Qaida's European ranks, was released after seven years in jail. That suspect, known by the alias Abu Qatada, was placed under house arrest for 22 hours a day.

British officials said the bail conditions for the Algerian would be similar. In addition to being allowed to leave his home for only two hours a day, mainly for mosque visits, he is required to wear electronic monitoring devices and is barred from having guests, access to the Internet or a mobile phone. He is also forbidden to receive guests or to meet with people outside his home.

In some instances, terrorist suspects held in Britain without being charged have the right not to be named publicly. In the Algerian's case, this has meant that he has been identified by court officials only by a code name, "U."

U.S. prosecutors previously identified him in court papers by an alias, Abu Doha. British newspapers have said he was born in Algeria in 1963 and captured in 2001 in London while trying to board a flight to Saudi Arabia with a false passport.

Suspect in millenium plot out on bail in Britain 07/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 2:22pm]
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