Thursday, June 29, 2006

Judge quashes house arrest orders

Aung San Suu KyiSix more of the government's "control orders" (executive house arrest by any other name) have been ruled incompatible with the Human Rights Act:

Mr Justice Sullivan said: "The freedom to meet any person of one's choice by prior arrangement is significant. As is the freedom to attend any temple, mosque, church as whatever you choose." He went on: "I am left in no doubt whatsoever that the cumulative effect of the order has been to deprive to respondents of their liberty, in breach of article 5. I do not consider that this is a borderline case." The judge said he had taken into account the importance of the needs of protecting the public from acts of terrorism, but "human rights or international law must not be infringed or compromised".

Robin Wilton is sceptical of John Reid's furious over-reaction:

Control orders were introduced as a 'preventive' measure... in other words, to stop someone who has not yet committed a crime from doing so; control orders are enforced 'on suspicion' that someone might do something. Because of the lack of judicial oversight of the process, the lack of any appeal option and the lack of any criteria for a control order to be lifted once it has been imposed, we are simply asked to take it on trust that control orders are being appropriately applied.

In other words, News of the World: this is not another case of "liberal" judges putting the rights of trrrists above everyone else. It is a case of Blair, Reid and friends thinking that a regime not unlike that used by the Burmese junta to keep Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest is appropriate in the UK.

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