Going... Going... Gone. | Belfast and Beyond | 19 May 2010 | Amnesty International UK

Going... Going... Gone.

“A commission is to be set up to review the Human RightsAct, as two terror suspects are allowed to stay in the UK” reads the misleadingheadline on the BBC’s homepage.

 

Two suspected al-Qaeda terrorists appealed againstextradition to Pakistan, on the grounds that they would likely be subjected totorture, inhuman or degrading treatment. Their appeals were upheld, because itis a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights toextradite someone to a country where they may face torture or inhumantreatment.

 

The headline implies that these two suspected terrorists are allowed to stay in a cozy cottage in Kent,when actually they will remain in prison (with one on bail in a secretlocation). The emphasis is on suspected, because one of the cases was thrownout due to lack of evidence, and in any case neither are convicted of terrorist offenses.

 

On the back of this sensational and misleading story, thecoalition government has announced that a commission has been set up to reviewthe Human Rights Act, something the Tories have threatened for a long time butthe Liberal Democrats oppose.

 

This act enshrines principles of the ECHR in domestic law,and ensures that people in the UK can defend their rights in a domestic court,instead of having to go all the way to Europe.

 

Shami Chakrabati, director of the human rights NGO Liberty,said, "It's no surprise that on the day that this issue about deporting aterror suspect comes up that people start wobbling over the Human Rights Act.

 

"But here's the thing – sending people to torture isnot just unlawful, it's wrong.”

 

The government is using fear mongering on terrorism to dueaway with a pesky little law – one that protects your rights from thegovernment.

 

 

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