Wednesday, June 11, 2008

42-day detention - is the Government glorifying terrorism?

The Government’s proposal to extend the minimum period for detention of terrorist suspects from 28 to 42 days is immoral. It was not deemed necessary throughout two world wars, or through decades of IRA activity, and few would contend that threat to the national security is greater now than it was during these bleak periods.

But the argument is that the UK is now contending with sophisticated international terrorism, which is capable of inflicting indiscriminate violence in civilian populations, most dramatically through the use of suicide bombings. The State therefore needs to deploy more and more intrusive surveillance, and may now arrest suspects before there is sufficient evidence to bring changes.

Yet the question is how to reconcile the Government’s duty to protect the public with the requirement that persons suspected of an offence, including terrorism, should be either charged or released as soon as possible.

So far, a limit of 28 days had been enough, but the Government insists that it is no longer so. But hard cases make bad law, and four weeks’ detention is already a considerable disruption in the life of an innocent person. There are alternatives - continued surveillance, control orders - but detention is the Government’s preferred option.

And now they are promising safeguards, but they are flimsy. If Guantanamo Bay is an affront to legal principle and human dignity, then so is arbitrary detention for 42 days. Christians must be vigilant about demands to sacrifice liberty on the basis of unexamined or exaggerated fears. And we must guard against alienating entire faith groups, lest perfectly legitimate asylum-seekers end up in detention centres without committing any crime. We are in an era in which individuals can be sacrificed for the common good: a few people deported to torture, a few detained without charge, a few wrongly convicted. And no-one really bothers because the numbers are so few. But it is Christian insight which challenges the view of the dispensability of human beings, and it is Christianity which is foundational to our civilisation.

What on earth happens to Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus? It is meaningless to talk in terms of detention without charge for 28 days, or 40, or 90, or even years. How do the police know what length of time is needed to find the crucial evidence? It ought to be for judges to decide, and for the police to be subject to these judges, and it is the judges who should decide if the police were fishing for evidence, or if their emerging case is persuasive.

42-day detention without trial is aimed at one group and one alone. In treating terrorists differently from ordinary criminals, the Government is glorifying terrorism and martyring terrorists. By diminishing the liberties of ordinary people and increasing surveillance, the Government is raising (let us face it) Muslim extremists to precisely the status they seek.


Anonymous hear o israel said...

how one thing leads to another , and how our FREEDOMS have been lost for a wonk ideaology rooted in fear.

all it needs is for the home secretary to authourise another period of detention as recomended by investigating terrorist officers.

i agree we are subject to an islamic terrorist threat , but upping it to 42 days wont deter them ,compensation of 3k a day is offered if not found guilty so you would get 120k almost makes it seem like a good buisness

11 June 2008 at 10:12  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...


No sir, they are not promising compensation of £3K/day - they are offering UP TO £3K/day. So we know where that'll go don't we - £20/day.

Your Grace - it's not aimed at one particular faith group (and I, at least, prefer to think of it as an ideology rather than a religion): it's aimed at us, the general British population, and in particular nationalists ... and other awkward individualists such as your good self.

Internment is coming, along with the associated camps.

11 June 2008 at 11:05  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

£20/day minus the cost of your 'board and lodging', as they do with people kept in prison for long periods of time who are then found to be victims of a miscarriage of justice.

When, ever, did British governments introduce laws for one stated purpose, then not use those laws for another purpose?

11 June 2008 at 11:09  
Blogger Jomo said...

The criminalisation of terrorists in Ireland was hardly a success.As always a period in a British jail was the key to a successful political career.

Brown's administration is caught in a dilemma of its own making. We are told there is no "war on terror" and the threat comes from a very small minority of radicalised young people. Despite this the Police are dealing with countless sophisticated plots and conspiracies against the security of the state.The steady stream of convicted terrorists are filling the jails. There appears no end in sight to this long struggle against our enemies foreign and domestic.

42 days is unlikley to much much strategic difference. After all what has 28 days done to curb the plotters. When we get to 90 days will the threat cease?

The present policies are doomed to failure. The borders are porous and there is no will to expel those who threaten the peace of the realm. The ancient liberties of the people are being taken away but the problem is allowed to fester on.

The only people who will benefit from this legislation is the human rights lawyers and the diversity hustlers.

11 June 2008 at 11:51  
Anonymous mickey said...

And we should not forget that these are not complex, sophisticated terrorist attacks. The explosives are household items, purchased and turned into bombs within just a few days. From a policing and intelligence gathering perspective, what is being asked of the authorities is virtually impossible. That is why it is tying our society in knots.

We must deal with the root cause of their grievances. Otherwise things can only get worse.

11 June 2008 at 13:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I thought the problem lay with a 19th Century convention that once charged it was no longer permitted to question a suspect as it was deemed prejudicial to his defence....other sovereign states in Europe do not have such a provision.

The ength of time also relates to deciphering computer data in Urdu or Arabic and finding (limited) translation skills because Government cutbacks outsourced much Arabic translation work from GCHQ to North Africa.

I suspect like most things in British politics and media the real issues are submerged below the rhetoric

11 June 2008 at 16:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

42 days is actually just a step on the way to the real target of six months, which we must somehow reach in order to be aligned with the "colleagues" in the EU, who mostly have that limit since they use Napoleonic so-called justice systems.

The EU Supreme Court will impose that on us sooner or later (once the constitution's been rubber-stamped), so all the Broon is doing now is getting things moving in advance of the inevitable.

Only for terrorists? Don't make me laugh.

11 June 2008 at 17:58  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

we must deal with root cause of their grievences or things will only get worse !

what about the root cause of my grievence ?? that it is being continually forced upon our christian faith , to make concessions that are to its detriment .

wil you see my grievence mickey??

11 June 2008 at 19:31  
Anonymous my goodness me said...

You all love it really, why else vote for these fuckers?
So stop pissin your nappies. I don't know of anything which enhances the taste of shit, so you better start to acquire the taste because it's going to feature high on the menu for a long time to come. I am going to start supporting Labour out of sheer fucking spite to all you bastards.

11 June 2008 at 19:37  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

My goodness me
How do you sleep at night with such vile vocabulary inhabiting that head of yours?

11 June 2008 at 23:14  
Anonymous Essexboy said...

They were bought and sold for Labour gold.

This doesn't really work, but the sentiment does:

Fareweel to a' their Irish fame,
Fareweel their ancient glory!
Fareweel ev'n to the DUP name.
Sae famed in martial story!
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Thro' many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
But petty politiking has been our bane --
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

'Our Liberties were bought and sold for Gordon's gold'--
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

12 June 2008 at 09:11  
Anonymous mickey said...

Mr Hear O Israel,

"..concessions.."? Not a word in my vocabulary, sir. I had been thinking more along the lines of 'expulsions'.

Have a pleasant day.

12 June 2008 at 10:59  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older