Special Immigration Appeals Commission says anti-terrorist law is unlawful

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The Special Immigration Appeals Tribunal has today (30 July 2002) ruled that powers under Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 are:

"not only discriminatory and so unlawful under Article 14 to target non-British citizens but also it is disproportionate in that there is no reasonable relationship between the means employed and the aims sought to be pursued. On that ground, we have decided that the 2001 Act, which is the measure derogating from the obligations under the Convention, to the extent that it permits only the detention of foreign suspected international terrorists is not compatible with the Convention"

The Home Office is appealing and it will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 7 October. Half the appellants' costs were awarded.

The statement by SIAC: Full-text (pdf) Feature (1.8.02) by Richard-Norton-Taylor in the Guardian

There are currently nine people held in the Belmarsh high security prison who have not been charged and who are being detained indefinitely. On 18 December 2001 the UK government derogated from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights in order to detain people "suspected" of terrorism but who could not be deported to another state either because no country would accept them or because they would face torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. This quite extraordinary law means "suspected international terrorists" are allowed to voluntary leave the country.

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