[JURIST] UK Minister of State for Security, Counter Terrorism, and Police Tom McNulty [official profile] told Parliament Thursday that an Iraqi suspect subjected to a UK government control order [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] is believed to have absconded [statement] Monday evening, making him the seventh UK terror suspect to have disappeared while under the controversial measure authorized by the Prevention of Terrorism Act [text]. McNulty said the individual, who cannot be identified pursuant to an anonymity order, has been under a control order since November 2005 and has been subjected to the strictest controls, adding that the government was forced to relax the control order following legal setbacks in the courts [JURIST report].
There are currently 17 control orders in force, which UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] characterized in May as being "far from the best option" [JURIST report] in the fight against terrorism following the disappearance of three suspects. Reid blamed judges and critics of the government for the lack of tougher rules. Current rules allow the government to use control orders to restrict the freedom of persons suspected to be national threats when there is not enough evidence to charge them or hold them for trial. BBC News has more.