§ Mr. Freeson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will make a statement on the deportation of four men holding Syrian passports on or about 29 January;
(2) why four men travelling on Syrian passports were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and deported to Damascus on 29 January;
(3) whether four men travelling on Syrian passports who were arrested by the Metropolitan police under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and deported on 29 January held diplomatic passports and were accredited to the Syrian embassy in London.
§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the recent incident in which Syrian nationals were required to leave the United Kingdom; and what was the reason for his decision in this matter.656W
§ Mr. Brittan
Four men holding Syrian passports were arrested by the Metropolitan police on 20 January under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984. It is not the practice to disclose the reasons for such arrests. I subsequently authorised extensions of detention to 27 January to enable the police to continue with their inquiries, at the conclusion of which I understand that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges. On 27 January the four men were detained under the Immigration Act 1971, and on 29 January they were deported to Damascus on my personal direction on the ground that their presence in the United Kingdom was not conducive to the public good. One of the men carried a Syrian diplomatic passport in addition to a normal passport; none was accredited to the Syrian embassy in London.