Terror-Twister

Last week High Court judges threw out Liberty’s case against the Met Police for their use of the section 44 Stop and Search provision (Terrorism Act 2000) against protestors at the DSEi Arms Fair in London last month. The lawyers representing two of 50 demonstrators who were searched, claimed that citizens have a legitimate right to peacefully protest and that being stopped and searched while doing so is a violation of human rights.

When Blunkett introduced this draconian piece of legislation, he promised parliament that use of section 44 would be strictly limited to cases where there was good reason to suspect terrorism – you know, like when people are concealing guns, tanks, hawk jets etc. about their persons – or inside buildings like the ExCel Centre in the Docklands. Liberty will appeal the decision.

Continuing its fine record of human rights violations dressed up as “anti-terror”, the government is also in trouble with Amnesty this week because of those pesky foreigners it banged up in Belmarsh prison nearly two years ago without charge or trial. On October 29th a Special Immigration Appeal Commission (SIAC) found that the Home Secretary could continue to keep the 8 men imprisoned indefinitely as he had “reasonable grounds” to believe they are terrorists. In what it calls a “perversion of justice”, Amnesty says the burden of proof is “shockingly low” and that much of the “evidence” against the men was extracted under torture in the US and is therefore inadmissable under International Law. Problem is that the government’s decided to keep all this “evidence” secret – even from the accused themselves, who therefore are unable to challenge it or defend themselves.

Did someone say “the presumption of innocence is fundamental to fair criminal trials”? Not in Britain, mate.

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