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2 men 'no longer terror suspects'

CNN | August 8 2004

Comment: As in every case, the arrest of these individuals is top of the headlines to scare everybody but when they are later released with no evidence it's in the back of the paper.

LONDON, England -- British police say they are no longer questioning two of 11 suspects arrested last week on possible terror-related activities.

But the two men, who were originally held under the Terrorism Act 2000, remain in custody on suspicion of possessing forged identity documents, police said Sunday.

Under British law, suspects can be held for up to two weeks before police decide whether to charge them. However, courts grant that permission only a few days at a time.

Police have been granted an extension allowing them to hold the remaining nine men until Sunday afternoon.

Late Friday, police released a 25-year-old man without charge late Friday. No other details were provided.

Another man was released without charge Tuesday.

Those two men were among 13 arrested Tuesday in raids in north west London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Lancashire.

All 13 men -- aged between 19 and 32 -- were taken into custody "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

The statement did not disclose the nationalities of the men arrested, nor did it provide details of their alleged terrorist activities.

Suspects arrested in previous anti-terrorism raids in Britain have often been released without charge.

Three months ago, the UK Home Office said that fewer than one in five of those arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 had been charged with offences under the legislation.

By the end of June this year, 609 people had been arrested under the Act since September 11 2001, the Home Office said.

The Home Office said 99 of those had been charged with offences under the Act, including 38 who were also charged under other legislation. Of the 99 charged, 15 have been convicted.

The remainder were released without charge, bailed to return, cautioned, charged under other legislation or dealt with under immigration or mental health legislation, the Home Office said.