UK government slammed for 'sacrificing liberties' in terror fight

[JURIST] UK Conservative Party shadow Home Secretary David Davis [official website] attacked the ruling Labour party Monday for passing anti-terror laws limiting traditional freedoms, valuing the rights of criminals over those of defendants, failing to prosecute terrorists, and releasing foreign prisoners, among other complaints. In a wide-ranging speech [transcript] before the Conservative party annual conference, Davis declared:

[The Conservative party] has always stood for protecting our fundamental freedoms. That's why we opposed the Government on detention without trial. That's why we've proposed a British Bill of Rights to defend our security and our liberty...Labour doesn't understand a simple obvious truth: You can't defend our liberties by sacrificing our liberties. When it comes to defending our freedom this government makes the excuse that it doesn't have the laws to do the job and then it passes laws that take away everybody's freedom.
Davis also slammed Labour for "not having the guts" to enforce new anti-terrorism laws, citing the case of British-based Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile], who was convicted [JURIST report] in February of inciting murder under laws passed in 1861, rather than under more recent terror legislation.

In March, UK lawmakers passed [JURIST report] UK Terrorism Act 2006 [PDF text; Home Office backgrounder], which included a provision authorizing up to 28-days detention without trial [JURIST report] for terrorism suspects, the longest allowed by any western European country. Reuters has more.


 

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