UK: Straw announces plans to allow secret inquests

Amnesty has responded to today's anouncement of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which would allow some inquests to be held 'in secret' on 'national security' grounds.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Coroners’ inquests should not be conducted in secret on the say-so of the government.

“When someone has lost their life at the hands of the state, it’s essential – and required by international law – that an independent and impartial inquiry finds out how and why it happened.

“Coroners can already decide – independently – to exclude the public from part of an inquest on grounds of national security. Letting the government make this decision will lead to accusations of cover-ups and could deny both the public and the victim’s family their right to know what happened.

“Similar provisions were included in the Counter-terrorism Bill and we will be scrutinising the new Bill closely to see whether our concerns have been met.”

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