Posted: 16 June 2010
Reacting to today's decision by the Supreme Court in the case of an individual referred to as "AP", that a control order imposing curfew restrictions and social isolation on an individual can constitute a deprivation of liberty, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:
“This is another blow to the UK authorities' continued reliance on control orders. The Supreme Court has made it clear that curfew restrictions, when taken together with other factors like the social isolation resulting from being required to live away from one's family, can constitute a deprivation of liberty.
“Control orders effectively punish people without giving them a fair trial. They are not compatible with respect for human rights. If people are suspected of a criminal offence they should be charged and given a fair trial.
“The forthcoming government review of counter-terrorism measures should recognise that control orders are fundamentally flawed, and abandon them altogether.”
Amnesty International has called repeatedly for an end to the regime of control orders created by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (PTA). The PTA regime has been used by UK authorities as an alternative to prosecution, and to impose severe restrictions on the liberty and rights of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism-related activity, but who have not been charged with any criminal offence. Although the new government has promised a review of the use of control orders, Amnesty believes it is high time for the repeal of the PTA.
Amnesty International has long criticised the UK government for imposing control orders which limit a person's freedom of movement and association and basically amount to a criminal sanction without benefit of charge or trial. Such measures have had a severe impact not only on the people subject to them but also on their families, who are either forced to live apart from the person subject to the control order or are forced to suffer the severity of the controls if the family lives together.
Amnesty International observed the proceedings in this case before the Supreme Court on 5 May.