Archive for the 'Civil Liberties' Category

The BNP leaker – the magistrate’s verdict

Perusing through news I came across the article on the fining of the “BNP leaker”. The whole affair has been somewhat surreal with members of an organisation associated with thuggery claiming fear of reprisal attacks. (This is not to say that BNP members are not entitled to data protection rights as citizens – of course they are, it’s just that it’s deliciously ironic.)

What caught my eye was the magistrate’s amusing summing up which pretty much captured the essence of what might be described as “council estate xenophobia”.

It comes as no surprise to me that somebody to do with an organisation that prides itself on Britishness is in fact living off the British people on Job Seeker’s Allowance and that is why the fine is so low as to be ridiculous.

Source: Ex-BNP man fined over names leak [BBC News]

This really ought to have been a tweet but I just couldn’t get it in 140 characters – and truncation simply would not have done Mr Stobart’s comments justice (no pun intended!)

Pre-charge detention: a simple question

In the UK police can detain, without charge a suspect in a terrorism case for 28 days. In the USA the police can only do so for 7 days. Why do we need four times the pre-charge detention period when no-one will sensibly argue that we have four times the threat of terrorism?

I’ve put the question to Opposition spokesmen as well as a Home Office minister and never got an answer. With all the other new law enforcement powers proposed (post-charge questioning, admissibility of intercept evidence in court and, most importantly, extra resources so the police can investigate quickly) shouldn’t we be thinking about reducing detention without trial back down to 7 days, not increasing it further?

Finally – UK requests return of British residents at Guantanamo

It’s taken four years but finally the government has requested the return of UK residents held in legal limbo in Guantanamo Bay:

The UK government has requested the release of five British residents from US custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Source: UK Seeks Guantanamo men release [BBC News].

Of course, there is actually a sixth British resident being held by the US authorities at Guantanamo. No reason has been given as to why the new British request does not cover him. So there may still be more work to do. Nevertheless this is a very positive development.

Some of this will but put down to a change in Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in the UK, and I’m sure that that has had an impact. Yet I wonder to what extent its also down to the ongoing shift in attitudes in Washington DC, where for some time now they’ve indicated a desire to be rid of Guantanamo?

Petition to stop Babar’s extradition

Babar Ahmed’s dad has launched a Petition to stop the extradition of Babar Ahmed to the US and put him on trial in the UK at the Downing St web site. Please sign it now.