Thank you House of Lords!

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Thank you House of Lords!

Post by starbug » Dec 17th 2004, 8:09 am

The highest court in the land ruled (the Law Lords aka the House of Lords, not to be confused with the House of Lords that forms part of the UK Parliament) that the detention of 'foreign terrorist suspects' in UK prisons without charge or trial, under the Anti-terrorism Act 2001, is unlawful. ... 27,00.html

'Lord Hoffmann, ruled that there is no "state of public emergency threatening the life of the nation"- the only basis on which Britain is entitled to exercise its opt-out from article five of the European convention, the right to liberty.'


'Sixteen Muslims have been detained under the anti-terror legislation, with 10 still held in Belmarsh, south-east London, and Woodhill, Bucks, and one in Broadmoor mental hospital. They are certified as "suspected international terrorists".

The law lords ruling said the state should decide whether a state of emergency existed. But they argued that the government's response breached the human rights convention because it went further than required.

It was a disproportionate interference with liberty and equality and unlawfully discriminated against foreigners because British terror suspects thought to pose a similar risk cannot be locked up without charge or trial.

Lord Scott described the regime under which suspects can be detained indefinitely on the say-so of the home secretary with no right to know the grounds for detention as "the stuff of nightmares, associated with France before and during the revolution, with Soviet Russia in the Stalinist era, and now associated, as a result of section 23 of the 2001 Act, with the United Kingdom". '

our constitution is complicated, but basically even this ruling can't legally stop the government from keeping this legislation on the books. All it really does is apply political pressure (and it's lots and lots of political pressure; to ignore the court's judgment looks REALLY bad). If the government do ignore it, the case will end up in the European Court of Human Rights, and the UK govt has never been known to ignore their judgment because the political pressure is so strong.
Especially now that Turkey is looking to join the EU, can the UK government be seen to be ignoring judgment of the House of Lords, let alone the ECtHR? It will be very interesting to see what happens. I'm sure my Comparative Human Rights Law Lecturer is running around his office rubbing his hands with glee!

Thank goodness there is at least some sanity in the world....


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Post by lance » Dec 20th 2004, 10:17 pm


Great news. A brief moment of sanity...



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