Rob Hallam

Cabinet Split Over 42 Day Detention Limit

As part of their campiagn against the 42 day limit, Liberal Conspiracy<\/a> brings us the news that there is a split in the cabinet<\/a> over plans to extend the limit that terror suspects can be detained for without charge.<\/p>\n

The news comes after Home Secretary Jaqui Smith had stated that the terror threat to the UK was growing<\/a>. In a statement to the News of the World, she said:<\/p>\n

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blockquote>

“We now face a threat level that is severe. It’s not getting any less, it’s actually growing. There are 2,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots. That has increased over the past two years. Since the beginning of 2007, 57 people have been convicted on terrorist plots. Nearly half of those pleaded guilty so this is not some figment of the imagination. It is a real risk and a real issue we need to respond to. We can’t wait for an attack to succeed and then rush in new powers. We’ve got to stay ahead.”<\/p><\/blockquote>\n

However, her views are at odds<\/a> with the Conservatives, Lib Dems, a growing number of unhappy backbenchers, former attorney-general Lord Goldsmith and the Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken McDonald. There have been arguments made that the new proposal will create ill-will in the Muslim community and actually cause the amount of intelligence supplied to drop. Lord Goldsmith also commented that it could be percieved as an attack on the Muslim community and used as a recruiting tool for terror organisations.<\/p>\n

However, Home Office minister Tony McNulty stated that he thought MPs ‘will buy<\/a>‘ the new limit.<\/p>\n

I find the language used by McNulty pretty scary:<\/p>\n

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“This is a very, very serious thing and I think once people understand the bulk of the model and the temporary nature then people do buy it.”<\/p><\/blockquote>\n

It (and other statements from the proponents of the proposals) rings very much of “There are lots of threats against all of us, but let us have have this for now and we promise it won’t be used too much…”. The law has to be renewed after two months (“The new limit would only be available to police for two months unless it was renewed<\/em>“, source<\/a>), but if it is passed the bar will be lowered and it will end up being renewed.<\/p>\n

The proposals are a big step up from the (already too long) 28 days to a month and a half. These proposals have to be opposed. There is talk that if they are defeated it will be very damaging for Gordon Brown and so forth, but politics aside, they have to be defeated. The limit is too long already, and (without being alarmist) extension would be another blow against democracy in this country.<\/p>\n”Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Rob Hallam

Man Held In Dubai Faces 4 Years Imprisonment

A Hampstead businessman is being held in Dubai without charge over alleged drug offences. Cat Le-Huy, who is head of technology at Big Brother creator Endemol, was arrested as he arrived in Dubai on January 26. (source)

Having being transferred to prison after being held in the airport jail, authorities in Dubai said they found traces (0.03g) of hashish in a bag belonging to Cat Le-Huy, and are considering charging him with possession of an illegal substance. (more here)

This news comes less than a month after a man was imprisoned for 4 years for possession of 0.003g of hashish after a roll-up cigarette was found stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Cases like these are covered and helped by FairTrials.

Rob Hallam

Get These MPs To Vote Against Extending Detention

We’ve previously discussed the decision on whether or not to extend the current 28-day detention-without-charge limit. Now, Sunny over at Liberal Conspiracy has put together a list (linked below) of Labour MPs who abstained or voted against the previous proposal to extend it to 90 days. MPs are listed by office address and constituency.

I would urge everyone to take the time to write a short email saying why you are against extending detention – and the 10 reasons laid out in a previous discussion are a good place to start. Let’s make sure they’re told!

The list of MPs, and thanks to Sunny

Rob Hallam

42 Day Detention Limit Proposed

Ministers have 30 days to approve or reject plans to extend the period a terror suspect can be held without charge. This news comes 10 days after speculation that ministers were planning to extend the limit to 56 days. Evidently, they didn’t listen to us, or Amnesty UK when we gave them a list of reasons not to extend it.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Justice said:

“It seems more like politics than policy-making to me. I think it is a real mistake as I’ve never seen such good will in the House of Commons.”

Quite so. If you’ll forgive the editorialising – who wants to take a bet that this is stage one of the distract them from the funding scandal plan?

Rob Hallam

AIUK Condemns Detention Plans

Edit: Emma beat me to it. if you want to read what I wrote, you can get it after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry →

Rob Hallam

Concern for Bilal Hussein, AP Reporter Detained in Iraq

An Associated Press photographer who has been detained by the US military in Iraq without charge for over 19 months is to now presumably to be charged with having links to terrorist groups, though exact charges are unknown. The case against Bilial Hussein will be prosecuted under the Iraqi criminal code, with an investigative magistrate to determine if there is sufficient evidence to try him.

The problem is, the military have not disclosed what they are specifically accusing him of, or what evidence they will be presenting at the hearing. This makes the case for his defence a little tricky. What’s more, US security forces argue that can continue to detain him even if he is acquitted:

“I think there is still a provision, should it be determined that he still poses a threat, that he can be held as a security detainee … even though he was found to be not guilty for criminal acts by a court”

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman

This assumption is predicated on the US arguing that the UN resolution gives them broad discretionary powers to detain people they believe to pose a “security threat”.

Joel Campagna of the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed his concern over Hussein’s detention, saying

“Governments are increasingly using these detentions as a way to justify their own repression of their media”

The military intends to file a complaint to bring a case against Hussein as early as 29 November, despite AP’s intensive investigation (conducted by former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe) having found that he was nothing other than a journalist working in a war zone.