Tuesday, October 14, 2008

42-day plan thrown out

It may only be a minor victory in a war we'll ultimately lose, but I was pleased to see that the Lords inflicted such a humiliating defeat on the government's plan to introduce laws allowing them to hold suspects without trial for up to 42 days that the government has been forced to abandon it - for now (see here).

Let's get one thing straight: the existing 28-day legislation already includes provisions to help the police hold suspects by charging them on "a lower threshold" if they have "reasonable suspicion" that evidence can be compiled in reasonable time.

Australia comes second to the UK in the time it can hold terror suspects without trial - they have 12 days in which to produce a charge (in contrast, the US has two days to produce a charge and Canada just a single day).

Politicians are happy to spread fear when it suits them, but if the price of protecting ourselves from terrorists is to restrict the very freedoms we're supposed to be defending, then why not just haul up the white flag now and surrender? It's not even as if you can peacefully protest against it without fear of being arrested under legislation introduced by this government before 9/11 even happened!

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