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What terrorism?

Comment 5th July 2010

Have their been no more terrorist attacks because of the various terrorism legislation introduced, or have their just been no more terrorist attacks?

I think it's about time we repealed some of the more pernicious aspects of the act such as (what I believe is) the longest detention period without charge in Europe. Does that keep us safe or put us at more risk?

"What more fertile recruitment ground for extremism could there be than innocent young men released without charge after 90 days internment?."

Hello? This important rule of law is surely an absolute, and should not ever be qualified: you're not innocent until proven guilty…unless you might be a terrorist.

In the words of, erm, Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately it seems Police forces cannot be trusted to flex that power responsibly. There are loads of cases of people being stopped and searched for fatuous reasons that are then justified under the catch all wording of the Act. It's the legal foundation for a police state, and the European court thinks it's well iffy too…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8453878.stm

Whilst we're here, how about police photographers at protests? I understand that if you have a specific suspect for a crime then you might legitimately use various surveilance techniques. However, this has not been my experience of police photographers at protests. They tend to indescriminately record everyone who attends and the only reason I can think that might be is to put people off protesting. The other place I've seen this kind of thing in action is at protests in the West Bank where the Israeli army and the implication is clear; we've got you on tape and we'll use that to either deport you or refuse you entry to the country in the future.

Let's be clear, the vast majority of people at protests are there because something's gone wrong and they want it to better. And let us not forget that the right to assemble is a fundamental human right and anything that interferes with that should be viewed with deep distrust at very least. It also seems a little rich when you consider that it is illegal to photograph a police officer…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7351252.stm

One rule for us, another rule for them? If I were more cynical I might suggest it's so unscrupulous officers can removetheir identity tabs and violently strike peaceful protestors/kill newspaper vendors in the street…

 

Why does this matter?

My idea is important because Britain is supposed to be a champion of democracy but detention without charge erodes our image as much as it erodes the rule of law. It is also important because freedom of association is a fundamental human right and any chipping away of that freedom is very dangerous indeed.


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