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Propogation Oct. 10th, 2005 05:36 pm
Liberty Emergency Campaigns Alert -
Government Puts Flawed Anti-Terror Bill to Parliament

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Government's New Anti-Terror Legislation- What you can do

* Come to the public discussion meeting in Westminster Central
Hall. Wednesday 12 October.
* Sign the statement opposing counter productive measures in the
new legislation at:
http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/united-communities/support_form.jsp
* Write to your MP and urge them to oppose three month detention
prior to charge and the undermining of free speech.

Background

This week the Government is likely to bring forward a new Terrorism Bill
which will have serious and frightening implications for free speech and
allow for the detention of suspects for three months prior to charge.

Liberty does believe that the Government must take appropriate steps to
protect us all from terrorism. Security and freedom (as manifest in the
right to life and freedoms of speech and against arbitrary detention)
are best reconciled and advanced within the international human rights
framework left to the world by the generation which survived the
Holocaust and the Blitz. This framework pays considerable respect to
questions of public safety, but rightly demands detailed and rigorous
thinking from Governments and legislators who find themselves
interfering with competing rights and freedoms.

Legislation of this kind should never be devised as a blunt tool for
expressing political revulsion at terrifying acts. Statutes must be
drafted with greater care than speeches. It is not sufficient that the
passing of a new law would send tough signals to Britain's enemies, nor
that it somehow makes some of us feel safer. Each proposed interference
with democratic rights and freedoms must be carefully weighed against
its purported benefits. Such laws are likely to be with us for a very
long time and we would respectfully remind Parliamentarians of previous
British experiences of the unintended and counter-productive
consequences of "exceptional" anti-terror legislation.

We are concerned that a number of measures in the Bill will do little to
make us safer but will undermine free speech and protections against
unjustified detention. As a consequence they will be counterproductive
by undermining national unity in the face of the threat, and
criminalising those who are not involved in terrorism.

Of particular concern:

* Proposals to create new offences of encouragement of
terrorism, including statements which 'glorify' terrorist acts, and
dissemination of terrorist publications are extremely broadly drafted.
They do not require any intention to incite others to commit criminal
acts. The Terrorism Act 2000 (TA) and existing common law means there is
already very broad criminal law. Any difficulty in bringing prosecutions
can be largely attributed to factors such as the self imposed ban on the
admissibility of intercept evidence.

* Plans to allow three month detentions without charge will have
a severe impact on community relations. This would allow for the
equivalent of a six month custodial sentence. It is over twenty times
the pre charge detention time limit for murder. If the police have
genuine difficulties in gathering evidence we should look for more
proportionate ways of dealing with the problem.

* Extension of the grounds for proscription under the TA will
criminalise membership or support of non-violent political parties. It
is not possible to overstate the implications of criminalising
non-violent organisations on the basis of their opinions. This is an
incredibly dangerous road for the Government of a democratic state to
consider.

Events

Tuesday 11th October, Public Meeting

DEFEND OUR LIBERTIES! - NO TO THE POLITICS OF FEAR!


7-9pm, Grand Committee Room, House of Commons, London


Speakers include Mike Mansfield QC; Louise Christian; Nafeez Mosaddeq
Ahmed, author of "War on Truth", Executive director of Institute of
Policy Research and Development; Lord Rea; Mark Oaten MP; Judith
Vidal-Hall, editor of Index on Censorship; Bill Bowring, barrister and
professor of Human Rights and International Law, Director of HRSJ,
London Metropolitan University; Doug Jewell, Liberty Campaigns
Co-ordinator, Lindsey German, Stop The War Coalition: Ben Hayes,
Statewatch; Lynne Featherstone MP; Saghir Hussain, Stop Political Terror


Wednesday 12th October, Public Discussion Meeting
The Governments New Anti-Terror Bill
Central Hall Westminster on 12 October 2005 from 6.30pm to 9.00pm.

Speakers include: * Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, * Mark Oaten MP,
Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, * Alec Salmond, Leader Scottish
national Party, * Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty, * Frank Dobson MP, * Sir
Iqbal Sacranie, Muslim Council of Britain, * Rt Revd Colin Bennetts,
Bishop of Coventry, * Dr Azzam Tamimi, Muslim Association of Britain, *
Barry Campfield, Assistant General Secretary TGWU, * Kate Hudson, Chair
CND

The speakers are all signatories to the 'Only united communities will
defeat terrorism and protect civil liberties' statement. To add your
name go to www.london.gov.uk/mayor/united-communities/support_form.jsp

Wednesday 12th October, Public Meeting

IRAQ: The Unheard Voices; Raising awareness of alleged abuses in Iraq

Wednesday 12th October, Committee Room 10, House of Commons,
Westminster.

Speakers: Phil Shiner, Public Interest Lawyers, Carla Ferstman,
Director of Redress, Sadiq Khan MP, Clare SHORT MP and Shami
Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty

The Solicitors' International Human Rights Group, with the support of
Public Interest Lawyers, is holding a meeting to discuss the case of Al
Skeini v Secretary of State for Defence to take place in the Court of
Appeal on 10 and 11 October 2005, and all cases of alleged torture,
abuse or ill treatment by UK armed forces in Iraq.

What Can You Do?

* Go to the Liberty website for the latest campaigns information
at http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk

* Sign the United Communities statement at
http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/united-communities/support_form.jsp

* Write to your MP.

* Write to your local newspaper.

* Get your friends and neighbours to join Liberty. You can join
online at http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/join/index.shtml

If you would like to be kept informed about the campaign against unjust
anti-terror laws please contact Doug Jewell, the Campaigns Coordinator,
at dougj@liberty-human-rights.org.uk
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