UK high court rules against indefinite detention of foreign terror suspects without charge

[JURIST] In the landmark ruling Thursday, an extraordinary nine-judge panel of the UK House of Lords, Britain's highest court, held that the indefinite detention of foreign terror suspects without charge by the British government was contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into domestic law by the UK Human Rights Act. Reversing a Court of Appeals ruling on the question, Lord Nicholls wrote, "Indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial is anathema in any country which observes the rule of law." Lord Hoffman observed that "The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these." The ruling sets aside section 23 of the Antiterrorism, Crime & Security Act of 2001, the British anti-terror law adopted after 9/11 that had authorized the detentions, and will require the government to act on the cases of those foreign detainees now held. UK citizens are notably not subject to the challenged law, a fact that several law lords cited as problematic and discriminatory. Read the full text of the House of Lords judgment here [PDF]. BBC News has more.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.