Concerns raised over UK's anti-terror bill

Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation criticizes new 'anti-terror' proposals

Concerns raised over UK's anti-terror bill

World Bulletin/News Desk

 Britain's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson, has raised his concerns over the government's new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

His response came on Wednesday two days after U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May outlined new measures in the draft bill including the establishment of a statutory duty for universities, schools, and prisons to prevent terrorism and radicalization.

The measures also included a ban on insurance companies from paying ransoms to kidnappers, the placement of temporary exclusion orders for British citizens who are suspected of terrorist activity abroad, and requirements on airlines to provide passenger data.

Anderson said of the bill to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday: "I sense that this was an announcement waiting for a policy.

"Where are the courts in all of this?" he asked, saying there could be a "more sensible" way of dealing with terror suspects.

Powers criticized

He said: "One could look at it in terms of young, possibly vulnerable people, caught up with the wrong crowd in Syria – didn't really know exactly what they were doing. 

"Do you want to throw the book at them straight away in terms of arrest and charge? Or is there something to be said, even though you do suspect them of having fought, of keeping them under a very light regime where they might have to report daily to a police station?"

Anderson, who was appointed by the Home Secretary and Treasury to report to Parliament on the operation of U.K. counter-terrorism law in the U.K., said alternative methods of dealing with vulnerable people could "be a more sensible way of dealing with them than putting them straight into the criminal justice process".

The proposals unveiled by May which would see greater "anti-terror" powers being given to authorities have been criticized by human rights organizations and charity leaders.

'Rushed legislation'

Responding to the new bill, Amnesty International UK Legal advisor, Rachel Logan, said that it was dangerous to rush through "this grab-bag of measures without proper scrutiny or challenge".

Human rights group Liberty's Director Shami Chakrabarti said: "Yet again, politicians resort to high talk and rushed legislation in an attempt to look tough in the face of terrorism".

The U.K. raised its terror level to "severe" from "substantial" a few months ago following increasing tensions over the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

The British government says up to 500 Britons have traveled abroad to take part in fighting in Syria, and that at least 218 have returned to the U.K.

 

Last Mod: 27 Kasım 2014, 10:10
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