Terror suspects' college found to be bogus

May 28, 2009

Two Liverpool John Moores University students who were among 12 men arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences last month had certificates from a bogus college, it has emerged.

However, the university has insisted that the certificates were not included in its assessment of their applications.

According to a report in The Times, eight of the men were enrolled at Manchester College of Professional Studies, which had 1,797 students but only three teachers and classrooms.

A Liverpool John Moores spokeswoman said the university had become aware of the college more than two years ago when students started presenting its certificates in applications.

"The team responsible for international admissions were concerned about the validity of the college and sought verification with a number of institutions named as accrediting bodies. None of the accrediting institutions had any knowledge of the college, and LJMU reported the college to the immigration authorities," she said.

"Certificates presented from this particular college are not part of the admissions process at LJMU; the students in custody gained admission to the university based upon standard entry qualifications."

Two of the detained students had places on masters degrees at Liverpool Hope University, which confirmed that they had submitted diplomas from Manchester College.

Graham Donelan, university secretary, said: "We had to trust the Government's approved list of colleges, and Manchester College of Professional Studies was on that list."

All of the arrested men were released without charge, but 11 of them - all Pakistani nationals - were immediately served with deportation orders. One man is not appealing his deportation, and the others are in custody pending an appeal. Their cases have been adjourned until July.

The lawyer for one of the students said his client had no connection with any bogus college. His client fears he will be tortured if he is deported to Pakistan.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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