Not a day longer 3

The Unsubscribe campaign at AI (UK) is asking people to pressure their MPs to reject the latest UK government attempt to extend executive detention without trial. This Tuesday proposals to extend pre-charge detention get their second reading in Parliament.

On 1 April (no, its sadly true…) proposals are being put in front of Parliament to extend the time people can be held without charge in the UK to 42 days – in other words the government want to be able lock people up for six weeks without having to say why. A clear and unnecessary erosion of habeus corpus.

The good news is that there are a lot of MPs and Lords prepared to fight this – but they need your encouragement and support. Others may be persuaded to make a stand if their constituents demand it.

So here’s what Amnesty suggest you can do:

1 Write to your MP and ask them to stand up for our civil rights and oppose this draconian extension of pre-charge detention. Simply pop your postcode into and the site will channel your mail to your own MP. It is important that you write in your own words (inspiration here).

2 Get everyone you know to sign their petition

3 Spread the word everywhere you can on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, blogs and anywhere and everywhere you are active online.

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3 thoughts on “Not a day longer

  • macshealbhaich

    The first Great Writ of Habeas Corpus was served in 1305, some 90 years after K John I signed the Magna Charta at Runnymede Meadow in 1215 which contains such laws as:

    "39. No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

    40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."

    Now, I would really like someone in Parliament – the "guardians of the ancient liberties and customs of the subject" (as K Charles I said at his show trial) – to demonstrate just exactly how Britain is more unsafe and insecure now than it was in 1215, or 1305, or 1808, or even 1908.

    And upon exactly what evidentiary basis Her Majesty's Muslim citizens are being singled out and demonised? Seeing as the Government has failed to demonstrate that it has any evidence, certainly not of a kind that would secure a conviction by due process of the law in a court that could be described as "the lawful judgment of his peers", I think it behoves it – if it is to claim any legitimacy – to present this evidence in open court.

    Lord Diplock stated in the House of Lords in the 1980s that the Law Lords should admit that they were wrong in *Liversidge and Anderson 1942 AC* and that Lord Atkin J was right when he stated,

    "In England, amidst the clash of arms, the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace. It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which… we are now fighting, that judges are no respecters of persons, and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law".

    And as Lord Justice Judge stated in Buenos Aires in October 2003,

    "[Lord Atkin] refused to accept the argument for a statutory provision, enabling the Home Secretary to intern those he believed to be unreliable or potentially dangerous to the defence of the realm without having to provide reasons".

    Earlier in his ruling, Lord Atkin J had said,

    "In this case I have listened to arguments which might have been addressed acceptably to the Court of the King's Bench in the time of Charles I. I protest, even if I do it alone, against a strained construction put upon words, with the effect of giving an uncontrolled power of imprisonment to the Minister".

    And in fact Lord Denning MR stated that if any minister tried to deny access to the courts to a citizen, that citizen could come to court and demand justice against the minister and none should gainsay him.

    So our Parliamentarians would return to us the Court of the Star Chamber?

    As Thomas Fuller stated, "Be you never so high the law is above you".

    I see little evidence of this nowadays, from the politicians' accountability for fiddling expenses and defrauding the taxpayer (misprision of a felony) to absence of accountability for egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity (treason).

  • MilkMonitor

    With these powers in their hands what might the authorities do next?

    In the USA:

    'Environmental and animal rights activists are being targeted, it is believed, not because they are dangerous, but because in the wake of 9/11 the government needs scapegoats beyond Muslims, and people – often young, white and middle-class – with defined ideologies who target corporate America are easy and attractive game.'

    '"Environmental groups are being harassed, infiltrated and spied on by the FBI and the police as never before," Regan [a lawyer with the Civil Liberties Defence Centre] says. "Everyone who is an activist is now a target. Big Brother is here. The government has hounded the activist community, overcharged individuals with federal firearms [laws] applying to bombs and missiles, and branded them as terrorists, even though none of the events resulted in a single injury."'

    'The Orwellian-sounding Violent Radicalisation and Home-Grown Terrorism Prevention Act, passed by an overwhelming 400-6 vote last month, will soon be considered by the Senate. Rather than seeking to criminalise "extremist" acts, it targets beliefs, or what many people are calling "thoughtcrimes".'

  • macshealbhaich

    Everybody should read Gareth Pierce's frightening article "Was It Like This For The Irish?" published yesterday (3 April) by from The London Review of Books ( in which she describes how the vicious and evil government we have is treating UK Muslims – to the extent of flagrantly ignoring rulings of the Law Lords and the ECJ.

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