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The investigation questions the effectiveness of the orders in protecting the public from terrorist attacks. The detainees live under stringent rules that prohibit the possession of mobile phones or accessing the internet. But the regulations allow them to mix freely with other worshippers at their mosques or talk to anyone they meet without prior arrangement. Despite a dossier of restrictions one detainee is allowed to between three tube stations, a bus garage and a shopping centre. "If I wanted to, it would be easy for me to bomb or commit an act of terrorism", he says.
Dispatches reveals the impact the control orders have on these individuals whose restrictions bypass the fundamental rights of due process enshrined in British law - that no-one should be deprived of liberty without a fair and adequate trial. In the film the detainees describe how they suffer from psychological problems and insomnia, with one detainee at the point of considering returning to his mother country, despite the torture that likely awaits him.