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United Kingdom: Anti-terror proposals an aberration of justice, the rule of law and human rights

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: 'The existing measures under the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act (2001) have already created a small-scale Guantanamo Bay in the UK by allowing the continuing detention of 14 foreign nationals without charge or trial.

'Any plans to extend these measures to UK citizens must be resisted.

'Instead of further undermining the rule of law and human rights, the UK authorities should listen to the forthright criticism of its anti terrorism legislation from religious leaders, the legal profession and the privy council.'

Amnesty International has consistently called for:

  • The UK government to repeal Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA), which allows for indefinite detention without charge or trial
  • Individuals held under the Act to either be charged and tried in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards, or to be released.

'Eroding fundamental liberties and trampling on human rights is more usually seen as the tactics of rogue governments rather than Western democracies,' concluded Kate Allen.

The Newton Committee, the Committee of Privy Counsellors who had been charged with reviewing the ATCSA, has already recommended the urgent repeal of the ATCSA powers allowing non-UK nationals to be detained potentially indefinitely. It is therefore particularly disconcerting that the Home Secretary is reportedly suggesting the introduction of wider internment-like measures.

The report UK: Justice Perverted under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 marking the second anniversary of the ATCSA (2001) legislation is available from Amnesty International.

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