Monday, 30 July 2007

Vote: Should we extend the 28 day limit on holding terrorism suspects before charge?

28 Day Limit
A joint committee on human rights, made up of MPs and Peers, has been formed to look into the need to extend the 28 day limit on holding terrorism suspects before charge. The committee have found that there is not enough evidence to support the extension.

The government have tried to extend the limit before, they wanted to be able to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge, this move was rejected and led to Tony Blair's first Commons defeat as PM. In a compromise, the 14-day limit was extended to 28 days.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "There is certainly information that recent alleged plots are more complex, contain more products - whether or not they are phones or computers or witness statements or house searches - than was the case when Parliament considered this previously. And what we know about international connections and the experience of investigating up to this point all give us at least a strong view that the time is now right to reconsider whether or not, and how, it might be necessary to allow longer than 28 days for pre-charge questioning."

Arguing for more flexibility on the limit, Ken Jones, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said: "We are not arguing for some kind of Guantanamo nonsense for the UK. It needs to be as long as is proportionate and necessary, subjected to sufficient judicial checks and balances. We do not want internment. That would be crazy." In response, Shami Chakrabarti, of campaign group Liberty said: "We elect politicians to determine legislation and we expect chief constables to uphold the rule of law, not campaign for internment."

Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis said: "All the evidence shows that when the police tried to claim the need for 90-day detention without charge they were wrong and Parliament's decision on 28 days was right. Since the 28-day limit was introduced neither the police or security services have produced one shred of evidence to demonstrate the need for extension, either in public or in confidential briefings."

Condemning an extension, Liberal Democrat MP, Evan Harris said: "The police have not provided evidence from their experience of recent investigations that the current 28-day limit - already one of the longest for a democracy - is not sufficient to collect evidence to bring charges."

Q. Should we extend the 28 day limit on holding terrorism suspects before charge?

Click: HERE to vote.

(The results are archived by the British Library)

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1 comment:

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

It's funny that people forget that was considered appaling when Verwoerd introduced in South Africa.
Yet now, apparently its needed to 'defend' our 'freedom'.