Amnesty welcomes Lords' strong stand against 42 days pre-charge detention

Amnesty International has welcomed this evening’s emphatic rejection by the House of Lords of UK government plans to extend periods of pre-charge detention without charge to 42 days.

The organisation warned against complacency while the Prime Minister still insists that he will press on with 42 days, and Amnesty vowed to continue campaigning until an extension of pre-charge detention limits has been ruled out altogether.

Amnesty is concerned that civil liberties are still under attack in the Counter-terrorism Bill and warns that people in the UK may be sleepwalking into an assault on their basic human rights. Political rumours that the plans will be dropped after the Lords vote cannot be relied upon and the 42-day proposals must be defeated once and for all, Amnesty says.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“It’s really heartening the way the Lords have taken such a firm stand on this issue of principle and conscience.

“The Government should now drop 42 days once and for all. It is not wanted, it is not needed and it is simply not right to strip people in the UK of their basic rights.

“But until we know that 42 days is gone for good, we shouldn’t be complacent. We’re asking people to speak up and tell this government that they won’t let their rights be taken away.”

Amnesty is holding a “mass sleepwalk” through the streets of Leeds tonight to launch a new film, ‘Sleepwalk’, about the 42-day issue. The film, by Oscar-shortlisted directors DarkFibre, can be seen at www.protectthehuman.com/terror . It features an exclusive new soundtrack by The Orb and a voiceover by actor Christopher Eccleston.

The film accompanies a new online petition at www.protectthehuman.com/42days urging MPs to oppose the 42 days proposal. Amnesty is specifically calling on MPs who did not support previous proposals for 90 days pre-charge detention, but did vote for 42 days in June, to oppose 42 days this time round.

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