Terrorists Bourgass and Hussain denied court challenge

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News home affairs correspondent

Image caption,
Bourgass and Hussain: Denied permission to challenge segregation

Two of the UK's most dangerous convicted terrorists have lost a bid to challenge their segregation in 2010.

Kamel Bourgass and Tanvir Hussain were accused of involvement in attacks on other prisoners or attempts to dictate their faith.

The High Court blocked their challenge against decisions to segregate them.

Hussain was jailed for his role in the 2006 airline bomb plot. Bourgass killed a police officer in 2003 after being implicated in a poisons plot.

Bourgass is serving a life sentence for the murder of Det Con Stephen Oake in 2003. Bourgass had gone on the run after police discovered what they said was a major plot to manufacture and spread ricin poison.

In July 2009, the inmate was transferred to HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire after authorities feared he was bullying and intimidating fellow prisoners at Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

But governors and security chiefs soon recorded "an escalation of violence [in the prison] for faith-related reasons" and they suspected that Bourgass was involved.

According to the High Court judgement, Bourgass was seeking once more to coerce other prisoners to his world view, including "pressuring them to attend prayers, stipulating when and how they should pray, what they should eat, what they should read and persuading them not to co-operate with staff, particularly female prison staff."

Amid rising tensions, one unnamed prisoner assaulted Bourgass in March 2010. Weeks later, Bourgass was accused of instigating the retaliatory attempted murder of his attacker.

Bourgass denied being involved in any intimidation, violence or the specific attack on the prisoner. He has not been charged with an offence - but was placed in segregation for approximately five months.

Secret intelligence

In the separate case at HMP Frankland in County Durham, Tanvir Hussain - jailed in 2009 over his role in the 2006 liquid bomb plot - was involved in a serious attack on another prisoner who received wounds to his face. Hussain's attack was observed and he showed prison officers the weapon. Prosecutors have recently dropped the charge.

Prison intelligence suggested Hussain was playing a wider role in the "conditioning of other vulnerable segregated prisoners who were susceptible to manipulation due to specific mental health needs."

Three prisoners told the authorities that they had changed their religion from Christianity to Islam - and that they had been converted through their cell windows by another prisoner.

The judgement said: "Security intelligence suggested that Hussain had preached Islamic ideals through his cell window in determined attempts to convert non-Muslim prisoners to his own interpretation of Islamic ideals."

"Concerns are that Hussain's interpretation of the Koran are in line with his terrorist beliefs and conviction; and, promulgation of his ideals have the potential to cause serious disruption within the segregation unit as well as within the general prisoner population." Hussain's segregation lasted for approximately six months.

Mr Justice Irwin said that while it was difficult for both prisoners to challenge security assessments made on the basis of secret intelligence, neither man had the right to challenge their segregation because governors had acted properly.