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Terrorism powers branded a 'fudge'.

SUSPECTED terrorists will still face significant restrictions on their liberties under plans for new powers dubbed "control orders lite", campaigners have said.

Civil rights groups accused the Government of "bottling" the decision on the future of counter-terrorism powers, saying the rebranded control orders were simply a "lower-fat form" of their predecessors and would still restrict rights to privacy, movement and expression.

Home Secretary Theresa May gave a clear signal that the restrictions on suspected terrorists against whom prosecutions cannot be brought are here to stay, saying the powers will no longer need to be reviewed every year.

But the term "control order" has been scrapped and will be replaced with "terrorism prevention and investigation measures", or Tpims.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "When it comes to ending punishment without trial, the Government appears to have bottled it."

The plans amount to a "control order-lite" which could lead to "potentially punishing the innocent while the truly dangerous may remain at large in the community", Liberty said.

Tim Hancock, campaigns director of Amnesty International UK, added that, while the proposals are "less drastic than the previous control orders regime", Tpims would still impose "significant restrictions on the rights to liberty, privacy, expression, movement and association".

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper also warned that the plans are a "political fudge", saying the review of counter-terrorism powers left gaps which raise "serious questions about security and resources". The new powers will be limited to two years and will only be renewed if there is new evidence that suspects have "re-engaged in terrorism-related activities".

But the decision to scrap 16-hour curfews while bringing in overnight residence requirements, typically of between eight and 10 hours, were greeted with guffaws of laughter from MPs in the Commons.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 27, 2011
Words:291
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