UK terror suspects win appeal

Thursday, December 16, 2004

LONDON, United Kingdom — The House of Lords, the UK's highest court, has ruled that detaining foreign terrorist suspects without trial contravenes British and European human rights legislation. The appeal, on behalf of nine suspected terrorists, was upheld by the Law Lords with a vote of eight to one. Despite the ruling, Home Secretary Charles Clarke, in his first full day in office, has decided that the terrorists will remain in prison; six of the suspects are being held in Belmarsh prison, the other three in Broadmoor Hospital.

The solicitor representing eight of the suspects has said that she will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if the men are not released immediately. The Liberal Democrats have called on Charles Clarke to stand up to the draconian anti-terror measures enacted by his predecessor, David Blunkett, in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This act was passed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The ruling is the second major blow to Prime Minister Tony Blair's anti-terrorist legislation in the space of 24 hours following the resignation of his key ally, and architect of much of the legislation, David Blunkett yesterday.