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Amnesty calls on Lords to oppose 42 days and make MPs look to their consciences

Amnesty International today urged peers to oppose the extension of pre-charge detention limits to 42 days in terrorism cases, ahead of today’s House of Lords debate on the Counter-terrorism Bill. Amnesty wants to see 42 days rejected by parliament and will continue campaigning on the issue to convince MPs and Lords to stand up for human rights.

The organisation believes that extending pre-charge detention risks moving UK law even further away from fundamental principles of fairness and the protection of human rights.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“The Lords must do what MPs failed to do and defend basic human rights in the UK.

“Extending pre-charge detention limits yet further to 42 days would undermine age-old civil liberties.

“We are relying on the Lords to reject this Bill - which only scraped through the House of Commons – and force MPs to look to their consciences on this issue.

“Human rights are worth fighting for. Amnesty members will continue their campaign to persuade MPs to stand up for British civil liberties and vote against 42 days pre-charge detention.”

Amnesty believes that the Counter-terrorism Bill still lacks proper judicial safeguards and that parliamentary scrutiny will be meaningless because of the risk of prejudicing future trials. There is also serious concern that the definition of the “grave and exceptional threat” that would trigger the Home Secretary’s decision to seek extended pre-charge detention, is too broad.

Amnesty accepts that the government has a duty to protect the public but argues strongly that this should only be done in a way that respects their rights. The organisation’s members have been campaigning against extending pre-charge detention limits since the idea was first proposed.

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