Terror suspects named after Supreme Court challenge - Press Gazette

Terror suspects named after Supreme Court challenge

Four terror suspects who were appealing against asset-freezing orders can today be named after media organisations lodged a successful challenge to the Supreme Court.

The Justices said “never was the slightest justification” for the order adding that “the courts below appeared to have granted anonymity orders without any very prolonged consideration and without explaining their thinking”.

Media organisations challenging the order included: Guardian News and Media, Times Newspapers, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Index on Censorship, Dow Jones, The Economist, Article 19 and the Media Legal Defence Initiative.

One of the men was earlier named as Mohammed al-Ghabra after he was identified through a Bank of England press release.

The media organisations applied through the Supreme Court to be able to name the other four.

Lord Rodger, who gave the judgment, said: “If newspapers can identify the people concerned, they may be able to give a more vivid and compelling account which will stimulate discussion about the use of freezing orders and their impact on the communities in which the individuals live. Concealing their identities simply casts a shadow over entire communities.”

Media lawyer Mark Stephens suggested that the ban on naming the children in the Edlington torture attack case should be lifted in the light of this judgment.

He said: “It is overwhelmingly in the public interest that the press should investigate and explain the background to this brutal and tragic crime without being inhibited by orders requiring that the family must remain anonymous.

“No Court henceforth should grant an anonymity order in a significant case unless it is satisfied that the litigant, if identified, would be in serious danger of physical attack.

“Indeed, it was a complete outrage that doctors and social workers in that case should have also sought anonymity, until now, such has been the expectation of anonymity of even third parties.”

Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette