[JURIST] British Prime Minister Tony Blair [official profile; JURIST news archive] said Sunday in an op-ed [text] published in the Sunday Times that the country has chosen to protect the civil liberties of foreign nationals over national security and therefore could not blame the government for last week's reported disappearance of three terror suspects [JURIST report]. Pointing to a series of court rulings favoring foreign suspects, he wrote:
Over the past five or six years, we have decided as a country that except in the most limited of ways, the threat to our public safety does not justify changing radically the legal basis on which we confront this extremism. AFP has more.
Their right to traditional civil liberties comes first. I believe this is a dangerous misjudgment. This extremism, operating the world over, is not like anything we have faced before. It needs to be confronted with every means at our disposal. Tougher laws in themselves help, but just as crucial is the signal they send out: that Britain is an inhospitable place to practise this extremism.
The three terror suspects who disappeared had been subject to control orders [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] under the Prevention of Terrorism Act [text] and are believed to have been planning attacks on British or US troops. UK Home Secretary John Reid said judges and critics of the government were responsible for the lack of tougher rules to prevent disappearances and said he would introduce new anti-terror measures before he steps down from his post in June.