23 April 2009

UK: European Court Rebuke Over Indefinite Detention | Human Rights Watch

It's worse than I thought. It took six years for South Africa to become a fully-fledged police state, from the appointment of B.J. Vorster as Minister of Justice in 1961 to the passing of the Terrorism Act of 1967 (since repealed) which provided for indefinite detention without trial.

Britain seems top have done it in four, since Tony Blair asked for 90-day detention.

In fact I thought that Britain had not even reached the 90-day mark yet, and that Gordon Brown had only managed to push it up to 48 days. Hat-tip to Big Blue Meanie for this news.

UK: European Court Rebuke Over Indefinite Detention | Human Rights Watch:
The ruling today by the European Court of Human Rights on the United Kingdom's detention policy for foreign terrorism suspects confirms that indefinite detention violates basic rights, Human Rights Watch said.

The court ruled that the previous detention policy violated the European Convention on Human Rights. A and Others v. the United Kingdom concerned 11 foreign citizens who were held in indefinite detention for varying periods of time between December 2001 and March 2005 under Part IV of the 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act.

'The court has reaffirmed unequivocally the fundamental rights to protection from arbitrary detention and to a fair hearing,' said Judith Sunderland, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. 'The principles at stake can't be sacrificed even in the name of counterterrorism.'

Congratulations, Gordon Brown, for turning Britain into a fascist state. That's quite something to go down in history for, even though the British media choose to call fascism "the moral high ground".

See also The last Straw man.


James Higham said...

We most certainly am in one. I recognize the signs form Russia.

Emilio said...


Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

good luck!! See you!

Richard said...

I'm certainly no fan of the move but the claim that, as it is now, that detention is arbitrary is a little overstated - it is now required that the courts sign off on continued detention.

A case in point is the arrest on terror charges of of 12 people last week in what was a major story in the UK - continued detention was not authorised and all were 'released' without charge from detention under anti-terror laws.

bigbluemeanie said...

@Richard: I think you might be confusing the detention of nationals and that of non-nationals under anti-terror legislation.

In the case of the former they can be subject to 28 days detention which is (as you say) subject to review by the courts. (Although the court has limited powers in the review - and will not view all the evidence in the case or be asked to make a judgement on this evidence. Some have criticised this aspect as window dressing).

In the case of the latter category of detainees (non-resident foreign nationals) they are held solely at the discretion of the Home Secretary. In 2004 the highest court of the land declared that this treatment was incompatible with their human rights but the Home Secretary has persisted. The detainees took their case to the European Court of Human Rights who have again asserted that the treatment of these detainees is incompatible with their human rights under European law.

There is more information here and here.

bigbluemeanie said...

Some more information:

"All the detainees are said to have been suspected of criminal offences, of
involvement in support for terrorism and yet none was ever arrested and questioned.

The Home Office informed Parliament when the legislation was proceeding that before
any individual was certificated under the 2001 Act, a clear decision would have been
taken by the Crown Prosecution Service that no evidence existed upon which a normal
criminal prosecution could take place. Yet the police were never involved in any normal
investigation which included interview of the suspect and the Crown Prosecution
Service stated that it had never been consulted to make a decision as to prosecution of
any of these detainees.

No detainee has subsequently been told the evidence on which he is held (most of
the "evidence" and the "hearing" being in secret in the absence of him or his lawyers).
The Kafkaesque nature of the entire experience, as well as the entirely open ended
nature of the detention when the detainee has never been tried or convicted is
necessary to provide an understanding of why the circumstances of these detentions
are particularly to have caused and be increasingly causing intense reaction."
(From a 2004 report by 11 psychiatrists and a psychologist on the mental health of the Belmarsh prisoners).

Magotty Man said...

Steve, I don't know if you have read him, but Phil Walker from "The Melangerie" (http://melangerie.blogspot.com/) often posts interesting stories on UK politics and especially, Gordon Browns fascism...


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