Executive house arrest ruled unlawful: Another piece of government legislation proves not-fit-for-purpose 6


Judge quashes anti-terror orders

From BBC Online

A key plank of the government’s anti-terrorism laws has been dealt a blow by the High Court. A senior judge said control orders made against six men break European human rights laws. Ministers say they will appeal against the ruling.

The orders are imposed on people suspected of terrorism but where there is not enough evidence to go to court. They mean suspects can be tagged, confined to their homes, and banned from communicating with others.

Home secretary

In his ruling, Mr Justice Sullivan said control orders were incompatible with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws indefinite detention without trial.

The home secretary had no power to make the orders and they must therefore all be quashed, he said.

Under the control orders restrictions, the suspects have to stay indoors for 18 hours a day, between 4pm and 10am and are not allowed to use mobile phones or the internet. And there are limits on who they can meet.

The judge said the restrictions were “the antithesis of liberty and equivalent to imprisonment”.

“Their liberty to live a normal life within their residences is so curtailed as to be non-existent for all practical purposes,” he said.


In April, the same judge ruled against the Act under which control orders are made, saying that those subjected to them had not received a fair hearing.

‘Appeal’

The government can get the UK an opt-out from parts of the European Convention of Human Rights if there is a national emergency – but this is something ministers have wanted to avoid.

But Natalia Garcia, who represented two of the controlees, said: “It is heartening that the courts will still act as a check against the government when it seeks to ride roughshod over the basic human rights and civil liberties such as the fundamental right to liberty.

“The human cost to my clients of being subject to control orders is incalculable.”

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said the government would try to overturn the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

“We think in the balance between public safety and the right to liberty and security for the individual, the public safety outweighs the individual,” he said.

The appeal hearings are expected next Monday. Until the, the six controlees, thought to be a Briton and five Iraqis, will remain subject to the restrictions.

Laws under review

Tony Blair’s official spokesman said Parliament had debated control orders at length and had expected the issue to go through the courts too.

The government was already reviewing the way the courts interpreted the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European convention into British law.

The government’s terror law adviser, Lord Carlile, said he was “not at all surprised” the judge had ruled that the orders were too stringent. If the Court of Appeal also said the orders should be quashed, he expected the government would make the restrictions on the suspects less severe.

For the Conservatives, shadow home secretary David Davis said the government had ignored his warnings that this could happen. He said he had offered ministers the option of extending previous terrorism detention measures to give them time to think.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Clegg said: “This decision shows the dangers of rushed and ill thought-out legislation on such an important issue.”

Deportation fears

Control orders were only introduced after the law lords said the previous regime of detaining terrorism suspects without trial was unlawful. They were originally imposed on most of the men who were held without charge at London’s Belmarsh prison.

Two of the Belmarsh detainees were returned to Algeria this month after giving up their appeals against deportation. Others have been taken off control orders and arrested under deportation rules.

Lord Carlile says he has “real concern” about detaining such people who cannot in practice be deported at the moment.


6 thoughts on “Executive house arrest ruled unlawful: Another piece of government legislation proves not-fit-for-purpose

  • Chuck Unsworth

    The constant flow of 'good' news, and 'news management' in general, has ultimately led to the total erosion of the government's credibility.

    This is a piece of bad news for the government which may at least serve to restore some public faith in the judicial system. It's a relief to note that a few judges continue to show some backbone – this despite a Chancellor who has shown himself to be almost entirely politically motivated.

    What's unfortunate is that these defeats for inane policies are not discussed as 'openly' as their introduction, but one can hardly expect this of a government which has so completely lost touch.

  • Richard II

    If you really want to know what Tony Blair cares about, read on.

    Forget torture flights, forget the chaos and bloodshed in Iraq, forget the anti-terrorism legislation that puts peaceful protesters behind bars, forget "free market" policies designed to extract wealth from "Third World" countries, what gets Tony Blair fired up is a group of 350 school children who thought they'd bought tickets to see the World Cup in Germany, only to find out they'd been scammed.

    Tony Blair got wind of this real-life Shakespearean tragedy and stepped in. He said the government would do its best to get the youngsters to Germany. Now, the kids will get to see the World Cup for free. YAY!!!

    I stumbled across this article, and it's definitely worth reading.
    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/display.var.808808.0

    Extract:

    "…Tony Blair, Sports Minister Richard Caborn and FIFA president Sepp Blatter stepped in to help.

    "Final details are not yet confirmed but the pupils have been told by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport they will watch a quarter-final game free-of-charge.

    "British Airways will fly the 350 pupils to Germany and back for free."

    "Charlie [one of the children who fell victim to the scam] has not been able to watch a World Cup match since as it was so upsetting watching it at home.

    "I had been saying my prayers and was ecstatic when I heard the news."

    Woolwich Polytechnic deputy headteacher David Powell said: "This is something we never thought would happen. The boys are ecstatic at the prospect of being able to see a match."

    Good to know what Tony Blair, "God", and the people of this country really care about.

    I was going to make a separate post about some videos I found, but I'll give a link to one now, as it seems appropriate:

    "Our" children are important to us. Children in Uzbekistan, Iraq, Palestine, Rwanda, and elsewhere, are not. Let them starve. Let them die. Let them be raped. Let them be murdered. So long as Britain can profit by their deaths, these kids' lives mean nothing.
    http://www.mrsignandprint.com/movies/movies.mv?mo

    The video is a bit sickly at first. Aren't children lovely?, it says. Then some pictures of babies. Aren't they adorable? – uh, no, they're not! But bear with it; the video makes a point.

  • Richard II

    I noticed links are cut short by the width of the page.

    Using Internet Explorer, click on the link three times to highlight it; then copy.

    This way, you'll get the complete link address.

    Blair is behaving no differently to the Russian mafia. First, you do terrible things to others, and then, understanding that people can be bribed, you curry favour with the wider population.

    The Russian mafia will help old people, and others, in order to get the support of a town.

    Blair is doing the same thing in Britain.

  • Richard II

    These are the children Blair says can go to hell:

    "Iraq's Child Prisoners":
    http://www.sundayherald.com/43796

    "It's not certain exactly how many children are being held by coalition forces in Iraq, but a [2004] Sunday Herald investigation suggests there are up to 107.

    "Kasim Mehaddi Hilas says he witnessed the rape of a boy prisoner aged about 15 in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. 'The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets,' he said in a statement given to investigators probing prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib.

    "Thaar Salman Dawod said: '[I saw] two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and [a US soldier] was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners. The prisoners, two of them, were young.'

    "Proof of the widespread arrest and detention of children in Iraq by US and UK forces is contained in an internal Unicef report written in June. The report has – surprisingly – not been made public."

  • Richard II

    This may be old news, but Blair helped torture these kids. Blair knew there were no plans for dealing with the aftermath of an invasion, other than to steal Iraq's wealth. He knew this, and he said nothing! He went right along with everything George Bush said and did.

    Blair was too afraid to say "Boo!" to a spoilt little rich kid, a man, who, for decades, couldn't handle life, and so became an alcoholic.

    If you read the article, you'll see kids have been tortured to get their parents to talk.

    Raping and torturing children in front of their parents? You'd think such behaviour was the sole province of madmen like Saddam, Stalin, and Hitler. But, no, it's also something us British do very well.

    We don't care. It's not "our" children. "Our" children get to see the World Cup in Germany to cheer England on – because, well, England is a country to be proud of!

    Seems to me, we're nothing but a nation of simple-minded Neanderthals, and we get the government we deserve, time and time again.

    Once Blair goes, will his successor be any more democratic, or any more civilized? No! And the Tories are just as vile.

    It's every man for himself now.

    We're so far up America's backside, we're never going to get our head out.

    Britain is no longer a country I care about. It's merely a place I must escape from.

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