Shameful Terror Laws Remain
Goodbye control orders, hello terrorism prevention and investigation measures: a knowing laugh rattled around the House of Commons as the home secretary set out her plans. The government has debated, reviewed, paused, scratched its head and changed the language, but it has not found a way to abolish in full the distasteful practice of restricting the liberty of terror suspects without the prospect of prosecution or trial. As such it has fallen short of hopes of ridding the law of this particular bit of authoritarianism, though it proposes removing many others that have done more to destroy confidence within the Muslim community.The Government’s response to the control order regime, announced has utterly failed in seeking to balance due process for detainees against existent security concerns.
The proposals that have been mooted fail to deal with the use of secret evidence and totally ignore the plight of those who continue to be detained under immigration bail orders. Unlike the conditions the men have been subjected to, the key point of concern for all has been the secret evidence that has been used against them.The retention of this fundamental assault on the rule of law will be retained, combined with the use of handpicked barristers (known as special advocates) is now polluting the British legal system to the extent that a two-tier criminal justice system has been constructed. Any individual identified as a suspect is faced with the impossible task of challenging the state.
Kaleem Bullievent a British Muslim revert who spent two years on a control order after he was wrongly accused of terrorism, said the stress of being a virtual house prisoner wrecked his life and almost triggered a mental breakdown. The replacement regime was agreed after months of protracted discussions between the Coalition partners. The Liberal Democrats promised in their manifesto to abolish control orders
The proposed changes in the regime including some significant exceptions such as banning overnight curfews and banning locations difficult to watch do not deal with the inherent injustice of the system. A more complete analysis of the removal of meaningful due process was highlighted in the Cageprisoners report, Detention Immorality. The government already lost its case for control orders in the High Court, Court of Appeal and was told by the House of Lords that control orders ‘breach human rights’ Progress cannot be achieved by simply chipping away at what is wrong, we need to return to what is right.
Human rights group Cageprisoners called for the government to rethink its proposals and take into account that the main injustice against these men is the way in which secret evidence is presented in their cases. Although the desire to end control orders is welcome, merely tinkering with the worst aspects from a PR perspective in no way deals with the fundamental flaw in the concept which itself is against the tradition of the rule of law.