London conference on unjust effects of UK terror laws


London : A conference was being held in London Friday on the climate of fear being created by rafts of new terrorism legislation being passed every year in Britain.

Support TwoCircles

Issues being examined include looking at the “unjust effects of the current anti-terrorism measures and how this injustice would be extended by the new proposals,” said the Campaign Against Criminalizing Communities (CAMPACC), organizing the event.

Speakers include human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, criminal law solicitor Saghir Hussein from Cage Prisoners, Azad Ali from the Muslim Safety Forum, Ben Hayes of Statewatch, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman of Islamic Forum of Europe and several journalists.

The conference at the London Muslim Centre comes as the British government is trying to pass its latest Counter-terrorism Bill through parliament.

CAMPACC, organizing the event with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism, said the measures will “impose new and worse forms of punishment without trial.”
“Since the first permanent Terrorism Act of 2000, people have suffered much injustice under anti-terrorism measures, particularly Muslims and migrant communities,” it said.

Over 1200 people have so far been arrested under terrorism laws in Britain, but less than 20 per cent have been charged with related offenses and fewer than 5 per cent have been convicted of any plans for violent activities.

“A key effect and political aim has been a climate of fear – fear that political activity, or simply talking to the wrong people, will bring arrest or house raids,” CAMPACC said, asking why was the government propose more laws and what the effects will be.

One of the new controversial measures includes extending pre- charge detention 42 days, after being gradually increased from just 4 days by previous terror legislation.

CAMPACC said that neither the government nor police have given any convincing reason why such a long period is required, pointing out that the US manages with only 2 days and even Algeria with 12.