A government clampdown which disregards human rights, and human decency, plays into the hands of extremistsby Martha Spurrier / June 6, 2017 / Leave a comment
There’s a refrain Liberty has had to repeat too many times over the last decade or so. But it bears repeating: you don’t beat terrorism by voluntarily abandoning the very values and freedoms terrorists seek to attack.
You don’t respond to mindless violence and hatred by hurtling into a race to the bottom—flouting the rule of law, disregarding human rights, writing decency and fairness out of politics and making laws that discriminate and divide.
If you do, you hand these murderous criminals a victory. You give them the power to undermine the foundations on which our country is built.
On Sunday, we looked to our Prime Minister for a steadfast defence of our shared values of freedom, fairness, compassion and humanity – to respond with an unswerving commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
When she took to the lectern outside No 10, Theresa May paid tribute to those values. But in the next breath, she gestured to policies that would undermine everything she claimed to defend.
It was chilling, with ominous echoes of Tony Blair’s speech after the 7/7 bombings—not long before he launched his campaign for 90-day detention without charge.
Theresa May’s speech raised the spectre of a return to the bad old days of counter-terror. Not just lengthy pre-charge detention, but control orders too.
Control orders and their successors, TPIMs (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures), were supposed to be a temporary departure from our adherence to the rule of law.
They let the Home Secretary impose an almost unlimited range of restrictions on anybody they suspect of involvement in terrorism, without the need to charge or prosecute.
These orders are unsafe. They leave dangerous terrorists in their living rooms, rather than convicted and imprisoned. Controlees can remove tags and disappear—and have done.
They are unfair, subjecting potentially innocent people to years of punishment without trial, based on suspicion rather than evidence.
And they are unnecessary. There are alternatives to TPIMs that would keep us safer, protect justice and liberty and be far more successful in securing prosecutions: greater use of the myriad criminal offences designed to target terrorist activity, letting police impose restrictions on those suspected of terrorist activity—and the long-overdue removal of the ban on using intercept evidence in…