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UK Can Now Hold People Without Charge For 42 Days

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the the-terrorists-have-won dept.

Government 650

the_leander writes "Prime Minister Gordon Brown has narrowly won a House of Commons vote on extending the maximum time police can hold terror suspects to 42 days. There is talk of compensation packages available for the falsely accused. The chances of you getting that money however are slim to none, lets not forget, this is the same country that charges prisoners who have been falsely accused for bed and boarding costs."

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The Question (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23759995)

Is that 42 in base 13?

Re:The Question (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760231)

Nobody makes jokes in base 13...

Re:The Question (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760511)

Va Fbivrg Ehffvn, onfr 13 rapelcgf wbxrf.

Hey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23759999)

Hey - did anybody notice that on any average three days in Detroit, more people are murdered than the total number of Soldiers who die in Iraq in an entire month?

Huh. It was like there must have been some sort of "surge" that "worked," or something.

Jumping the gun a bit.... (5, Informative)

Cambo67 (932815) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760003)

....as the Bill in question has only been passed by the House of Commons. It's got to go before the House of Lords yet. Many commentators think it is not going to do too well there.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760053)

It's got to go before the House of Lords yet

Ah yes, our fine tradition of having decisions by the people we elect overturned by a bunch of unelected lords.

Nope, nothing wrong with our system at all.

I'm for this 42 day thing myself. Its not as if its a breach of human rights or anything, I mean, we aren't waterboarding them, or locking them away for years without trial....

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760107)

It's got to go before the House of Lords yet

Ah yes, our fine tradition of having decisions by the people we elect overturned by a bunch of unelected lords.

Nope, nothing wrong with our system at all.
Those unelected lords are there precisely to stop bad (but popular) laws from being passed.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760133)

I prefer to think of it as our fine tradition of having legislation sanity checked by a bunch of people who aren't primarily motivated by re-election and "making their place in history".

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (0, Flamebait)

benjj (302095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760169)

Yes! You know who else was part of that fine tradition? Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini.

I know this may sound like a demonstration of Godwin's Law, but what the hell are you talking about? Why don't we just put the Queen back in charge if that's what you want?

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760311)

You cite three persons all a product of the 20th Century - the House of Lords has been a part of British Parliament since 1295. It seems to have done us well in the past 713 years....

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (3, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760393)

Except if you're Canada, where the Senate (our parliamentary equivalent to the House of Lords) is consisted of members appointed by the PM, and therefore highly susceptible to voting with the party. They are also known for rubber-stamping legislation through, and spend a ludicrously small amount of time in session each year.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (4, Informative)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760147)

Um.. the House of Lords have their powers severily curtailed by the Parliament Act and for the most part the Lords is only able to delay legislation. It a part of the UK's unwritten constitution.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (4, Informative)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760269)

Except it's not unwritten. All of what's considered part of UK constitutional law is written in the form of acts, treaties and to a very limited extent precedent.

(IANAL, but I'm married to one, and one of the first things they drill into UK law students when dealing with constitutional law is that they better not ever write on an exam that it's unwritten).

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760377)

I think 'unwritten' is self deprecation or cynicism. It's true in the sense that there isn't one document with a small set of authors that describes the British system. That doesn't mean that you can piece together a constitution from the sources you descibe though. Mind you that constitution would be very complex and not at all logical.

Though as a Tory and programmer I think it's like a very old piece of code which has been patched for a long time, hard to understand but for good reasons. Certainly the English system has a lot of staying power. It's been tested by much worse things than the current Islamist threat and it has survived. Other simpler systems might not be as lucky.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (4, Informative)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760401)

Yes, you are right. Some components of the constitution are act and treaties, which are indeed written. Precendent and conventions are also a part of the constitution and although they are unwritten, are largely observed.

The difference that distinguishes it to written constitutions is that there is no single document that outlines the framework of government. Rather, it is much like the common law itself.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (3, Informative)

rpjs (126615) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760321)

I do think the Lords will get the 42 days struck from the bill. I don't think they'll back down on this one and accept it, and so the government will have the choice of dropping 42 days or losing the whole bill for a year before being able to resubmit it under the Parliament Act - I think they'll prefer to drop the 42 days.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760431)

Yes, you are right of course. I hope they get that part sticken off the bill as well.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (2, Informative)

u38cg (607297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760323)

Technically, you are correct - but if the Lords is hell bent against something then you can guarantee the government will have a fight on its hands. Enough to make a government rethink its position, sometimes.

It's a long, long time (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760367)

The Lords are only allowed to send Bills back to the Commons twice. They have no power other than to force debate and thought. It's not part of the "unwritten constitution", it's the Parliament Acts of 1911(Liberal) and 1949(Labour). The British constitution is mostly written, it's just written all over the place.

I would ask the grandparent how much he would like to be imprisoned for a month and ten days, only to be dumped back on the streets having no idea of why, no legal right to be told why and a scant chance of limited compensation. Can you imagine the effect on your family, your job, your reputation? This allows the state to destroy individuals with only limited checks and balances.

There isn't a day now where I don't thank god for the House of Lords injecting, unbelievably, some sanity into Parliament.

Re:elected v unelected (2, Interesting)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760203)

Well, since the people we elect are essentially Kang or Kodos who try to pass whatever laws they like without giving the public a chance to vote on the matter, I quite like the idea of the house of lords (harder to bribe some rich bugger than the corrupt political class intent on filling their own pockets. Yes, some Lords were once those corrupt politicals, but they are comparatively rich and settled now).

There are many things wrong with our system, but having some kind of 'second opinion' of government policy is not a bad idea.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1, Insightful)

kkiller (945601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760221)

It's not a breach of human rights, in less you consider destroying any detainee's reputation and denying them their liberty a breach of human rights. It's damn near the bone, I think.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760275)

It's got to go before the House of Lords yet Ah yes, our fine tradition of having decisions by the people we elect overturned by a bunch of unelected lords. Nope, nothing wrong with our system at all...
It truly does not sound too bad. Over on this side of the pond we have a bunch of unelected people ( judges, particularly nine of them on the supreme court ) who sometimes overrule the people we elect. So far, it seems to work rather well, IMHO. Keeps the public servants from getting out of hand. Err..well...at least it slows them down a tad.
Over here we have this thing called a constitution that the judges are supposed to follow when deciding if the legislature needs to be slapped down. And they do follow it...ummm...most of the time...welll..they follow their interpretation of it.
What do your lords use for guidance over there?

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (3, Funny)

iworm (132527) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760329)

You asked: "What do your lords use for guidance over there?"

The answer is "whether or not they had a jolly good lunch at the club."

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (5, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760081)

....as the Bill in question has only been passed by the House of Commons. It's got to go before the House of Lords yet. Many commentators think it is not going to do too well there.

However there are still 315 people who really should be held for 28 days without charge. Are there enough truely patriotic police to do this though.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760089)

....as the Bill in question has only been passed by the House of Commons. It's got to go before the House of Lords yet. Many commentators think it is not going to do too well there.
That all depends on how well the broads go down on the House of Lords.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760343)

Putting your hope in the Lords, ehâ¦

It's a shame the Queen doesn't do squat for the British people these days, aside from taking up prime real estate and making rare TV appearances.

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760357)

> ....as the Bill in question has only been passed by the House of Commons. It's got to go before the House of Lords yet.

IANAPS, but IIRC the UK is still a Constitutional monarchy, in which case the Queen also has to sign the act after the Lords approve it (OK: it is a rubber-stamping job, but still...).

Re:Jumping the gun a bit.... (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760359)

"Commentators" may say so. But keep in mind that this is the same House of Lords who ruled that charging wrongfully convicted prisoner for "bed & breakfast" costs was the proper thing to do.

House of Lords (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760005)

The UK can't now hold people for 42 days without trial - the Bill still needs to pass the House of Lords to become law

it's without CHARGE, not without trial (4, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760349)

The bill defines how long you can hold someone without charging him with a crime. That's got nothing to do with how long, after he has been charged, it can take before he is tried.

As I understand it, the current limit is 28 days, so they're just tacking on an extra two weeks, and according to the BBC, they want the right on a "contingency basis" when the crime in question is particularly complicated and time-consuming to unravel, so they can figure out who's who and know whom to charge and whom to let go. An example they give is when there are international complications, e.g. the police need to get info from another country's police, immigration, or security services, which, of course, can take an annoyingly long time, since you have to rely on purely voluntary cooperation (no English judge can compel a French police caption, or a Saudi immigration agency, or the FBI).

In other words, as a general rule, the 28-day limit stays in effect, but in certain unusual circumstances -- e.g. something like the London bombing, evidence that some major operation has taken place, or is about to take place -- then the government can raise the 28-day limit to 42 days temporarily. Even if the limit is raised, a judge needs to sign off on applying it to any particular individual. Parlaiment can step in at any time after the limit is raised and reverse it. And, in any event, the raising expires after 60 days.

I dunno, when you look at the bill in detail, it seems rather, well, moderate. Not quite like the massive Armageddon / burning pile of civil liberties / return of the Gestapo, Inquisition, and the rack that lots of Chicken Littles seem to think it is. *shrug*

Re:it's without CHARGE, not without trial (2, Insightful)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760507)

I agree that it's not the Armageddon Act. But it's still stupid and unnecessary legislation, done for grandstanding purposes than any demonstrated need.

What annoys me is that Gordon Brown introduced all of this with a statement that it all had to be done on the basis of consensus - ie, cross party support. Now, that's not a bad approach. See if a consensus can be built, but if it can't, then withdraw the idea. No harm, no foul.

But he didn't do that. He went for consensus, saw that it couldn't be got, and said "Fuck it. I'll show these civil liberty bedwetters what a real man does with terrorists. Or tourists, if they piss me off. This bill will be supported by Chuck Norris".

End result: a pile of steaming crap. And, since it shadows the Civil Contingencies Act, it ends up in practice to give the government no more powers than they already have under emergency legislation. What a waste of time.

At least... (4, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760031)

At least the English know not to do something like Guantanamo Bay. They tried that 220 years ago, and created Australia.

Re:At least... (5, Insightful)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760123)

No fair - the ones sent to Australia were already charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced; and at least they were still in the Commonwealth & subject to British/colonial law & legal process.

Only barbarians would ship their alleged criminals to some overseas outpost then claim they had no recourse to the laws of the country...

Re:At least... (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760227)

No fair - the ones sent to Australia were already charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced

Correct, but, well, some of those convictions were for trivial offences like fruit stealing.

To be fair though, that was a different era, we don't do that any more.

Re:At least... (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760165)

My great great great great grandmother was wrongly accused of stealing a loaf of bread and shipped off to Australia. I demand that the British government pay compensation minus living expenses and take her corpse back to the UK... no... wait...

Re:At least... (5, Funny)

invader_vim (1243902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760225)

So you're saying that in 200 years, the descendants of the Guantanamo Bay inmates are going to thrash the Americans at all their sports?

Re:At least... (1)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760363)

Actually they were given the option to hang or to go to Australia, and most of them chose the hangman but were sent to Australia anyway if they misbehaved.

Re:At least... (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760405)

Look at it this way. Even though you are held without charges forever at gitmo, you don't have to pay for room and board.

Obligitory (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760037)

The answer to life, the universe and everything now includes the number of days the UK can hold you without charges.

Vote the Labour^H^H^HTerrorists out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760039)

The main aim of the terrorists is to make people afraid to carry on normally. This is a perfect example of their success and their co-conspirators are the Labour party. The only way to respond to this is to work to get them out. Vote Liberal (or even Conservative if you have to.. not that they haven't been responsbile for previous terror legislation) and get involved as much as you possibly can in fighting against Labour.

Re:Vote the Labour^H^H^HTerrorists out (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760077)

As if that'd make any difference. It's the game that's the problem, not the players. Time to leave this country I think. Anyone recommend a decent country that respects human rights, has sensible drug legislation, and fast, cheapish internet connections?

Remeber This (2, Interesting)

ender81b (520454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760049)

Disclaimer: I have lived a year in the UK, (specifically, Lancaster, England) and have nothing against the people...

But remember, despite people bitching about the US' policies, we still have among the world's most stringent policies regarding the rights of the accused. I was always shocked by most UK citizens attitudes regarding free speech and the right of the accused. While they, obviously, abhorred the idea of someone being put to the death they saw nothing wrong with imprisoning someone without charges for 30 days.

At any rate, I'm sorry this happened =/. I had hoped for better from our friends across the pond.

With two words, I destroy your argument (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760127)

"Guantanamo bay"

or how about: "Abu Ghraib"

The US certainly has no moral high ground. They rape, torture, and sexually humiliate *suspected* terrorists, in a foreign land, out of sight of the people because they're so ashamed of what they do in the people's name.

If (I'm not, but *if*) I was a suspected terrorist, I'd take 42 days maximum in a standard UK jail, held under standard UK law by standard UK law-enforcement over indefinite detainment in a foreign military prison, with no legal status, and denied the right of habeus corpus. I'd prefer to be jailed in the UK rather than tortured and sexually abused by the US military.

Just saying. I continue to hope that the American people abhor and remove this stain on their countries honour, but it seems to be getting worse, not better.

Simon.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (2, Funny)

ender81b (520454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760143)

I, obviously, do not condone the actions of things like guantanomo bay or abu whatever-the-fuck. With that said, isolate incidents are isolated incident (abu ghraib being a really good example, yeah a ton fo people fucked up, but it's not a policy of the united states to do the things that were do at abu ghraib). The fact is, it reminds against the law to withold someone without charges for more than 48 hours if they are a citizen.

IN the UK they can detain you for 42 days.. if you are a citizen.. with no charges. I find the implications disturbing.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760289)

Well, no, obviously it is *not* the policy of the UK that they can be held for 42 days. It's passed one house, barely. The house entrusted with the duty of rejecting popular but bad laws has yet to rule on it. It's *entirely* within the remit of the house of Lords to reject this out of hand, and it's one of the checks-and-balances that the second house is there to provide...

Abu Ghraib may have been an isolated "incident" (though an awful lot of people would have needed to conveniently ignore what happened there...), but Guantanamo Bay is precisely current US policy.

If you are a citizen in the US, they'll simply fabricate evidence and send you to be tortured [nytimes.com] in one of the less squeamish regimes that the US has links with (eg: Syria)...

Given the amount of illegal wiretapping, the removal of habeus corpus for non-citizens, the policy of torturing suspected terrorists coupled with the ability of the president to arbitrarily designate someone a terrorist, (I could go on and on...), I find the implications disturbing in the extreme.

I don't agree with the 42 days thing, but I think the glass-houses line really does apply here...

Simon.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (0)

ender81b (520454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760347)

I guess my point in all this was people like to point at Gitmo and so forth and be like "OMG US IS TEH SUXXOR" but the fact remainds if their government was confronted with a similar situation it's highly likely they would ot he same. Or worse.

I maintain in 2-3 years Gitmo will be abolished. The SC isn't stupid, they are waiting for their orders to be enforceable (i.e. banning gitmo, forcing trials in US courts) before issuing them. A few more years of US citizens tired of it, executive branch powerless and they will overturn everything and force them to go to US courts.

yes, it sucks, but it's how it works here. The SC has very very very little real power (i.e. it isn't the CiC of american military forces when it comes down to it) and has to really be careful when it overturns a branch of government or totally usurps popular opinion. Someone super famous (yeah, I don't remember who) once said the most important part about being a supreme court justice wasn't issue the correct opinion but always issuing an enforceable opinion.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760421)

I guess my point in all this was people like to point at Gitmo and so forth and be like "OMG US IS TEH SUXXOR" but the fact remainds if their government was confronted with a similar situation it's highly likely they would ot he same. Or worse.
Then your point was poorly made. Very poorly made.

The UK suffered at the hands of terrorists (these terrorists mainly funded by US organisations like Noraid [wikipedia.org] , actually) for several decades. Nothing like Gitmo was ever set up - people committing acts of terrorism were in fact denied the status of terrorists and charged as common murderers, then locked up in civilian jails if found guilty under the normal due process of law.

Now the UK was hardly blameless in the actions that started the terrorism, but it tried to maintain a diplomatic solution (even engaging with the political wing of the terrorist organisations) that eventually more or less worked. Throughout "the troubles" in Northern Ireland, even though the military were called in to keep order, all suspected terrorists were processed through a civilian court.

There is no possible defence of the existence of Guantanamo Bay. None. Yet it remains the policy of the US government. The contrast between the UK and the US approach to terrorism is actually quite startling.

Simon.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760459)

so it's perfectly fine to hold people for 10 years, outside any legal controls & torture them, before any kind of charges or trial, but 42 days without charge is wrong?

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (1)

tomalpha (746163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760395)

Ignoring whether 42 days detention is the UK is as bad as Guantanamo etc. or not - you raise an interesting point. Is it right that US citizens can only be held for 48 hours without trial, when non US citizens can be held indefinitely?

[ doesn't just have to be the US either ]

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (1)

Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760177)

42 days, and then they charge you with something. And arrest your lawyer for 42 days.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (2, Interesting)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760339)

I keep seeing this argument trotted out, and it really needs to stop. Just because my country has done some ass-backward immoral things lately doesn't mean I cannot frown upon stupid acts occurring elsewhere in the world.

You talk of Gitmo and Abu Grahib? Excellent. The more people that do, the better. But, I can also read the news about Britain's detaining people, even citizens, for 42 days without charges or their bizarre need to spy on the populace 24/7 and contemplate just how truly screwed up that is.

My opinions don't magically become invalid just because there's a group of morons in my government right now. You are, of course, perfectly free to completely ignore my opinions.

Re:With two words, I destroy your argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760361)

The U.S. is a country, has no feeling or emotion, makes no decisions, and certainly not at fault for what the people residing in it choose to do. Put the blame where it belongs.

Oh please, such a red herring (0, Flamebait)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760497)

So I guess saying "Guantanamo Bay" now constitutes an argument. If you cannot understand the difference between war - where every freaking country in the history of time (including the UK) has held prisoners until said war is over - and criminal law, where people go through some sort of legal process, then I can't help you. What country, ever, has released prisoners before the war was over? The reason for this is so they can't shoot at you again! And yes, there are guys in Guantanamo who have been caught two and three times, shooting at Americans yet again. And the mofos in there eat better than I do. Should we release them so they can be tortured and killed in their home countries? Prisoners of war do not get civilian trials. They never have, and terrorists flouting all rules of Geneva should not be treated better simply because you don't like Bush or his war.

But I guess the rules are different for America and George Bush than the rest of the world.

As for Abu Graib, what a cheap shot. That abuse was reported by military personnel and the perpetrators are doing hard time.

Meanwhile, in the USA, actual criminal suspects have to be charged in 48 hours or released. But keep patting yourselves on the back Britons if it makes you feel better.

Re:Remeber This (1)

SlashTon (871960) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760185)

While they, obviously, abhorred the idea of someone being put to the death they saw nothing wrong with imprisoning someone without charges for 30 days.
While 30 (or 42) days is way too long, in my opinion, at least there is still a time limit in the UK? Quite a few people in the US, including the president, apparently see nothing wrong with imprisoning certain people without charges indefinitely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Commissions_Act_of_2006 [wikipedia.org]

From that article:

The Act also contains provisions (often referred to as the "habeas provisions") removing access to the courts for any alien detained by the United States government who is determined to be an enemy combatant, or who is 'awaiting determination' regarding enemy combatant status. This allows the United States government to detain such aliens indefinitely without prosecuting them in any manner.
Note I pass no judgement about the validity on the whole War on Terror. I just never understood why in order to effectively combat terrorism, it is considered necessary to have the ability to keep terrorism suspects without any charge, for years or even permanently.

Re:Remeber This (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760307)

The tiem limit for holding a US citizen remains 48 hours (or 72 I think in certain special circumstances). The instances you refer to are non-us Citizens.

As opposed to the US ... (5, Insightful)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760055)

... where it's currently 6+ years and counting.

Oh wait, I forgot - they're not being held by the police, and they're not actually in America. My bad.

Re:As opposed to the US ... (1, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760205)

They also weren't apprehended on US soil, which is actually the operative difference.

If someone were picked up by the police or FBI in Chicago on a "terror" related charge, then the whole habeas corpus, right to a speedy trial thingy comes into play as usual. The difference with Guantanamo prisoners is they were all picked up on battlefields in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, et cetera. Whole 'nother ball game.

Jose Padilla? (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760271)

Wasn't Jose Padilla held without charges for a number of years in South Carolina?

Re:Jose Padilla? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760483)

Ahheemm, sir, we have traced your IP to your address.
Would you please answer the knock on the door?
Its a free pizza we are delivering to 'deserving' citizens.

Re:As opposed to the US ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760331)

If someone were picked up by the police or FBI in Chicago on a "terror" related charge, then the whole habeas corpus, right to a speedy trial thingy comes into play as usual. The difference with Guantanamo prisoners is they were all picked up on battlefields in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, et cetera. Whole 'nother ball game.
Oh. Not like Maher Mofeid "Mike" Hawash [wikipedia.org] who was a US citizen since 1990. "Hawash became a cause célÃbre due to the nature of his arrest: he was held in solitary confinement and with limited access to attorneys for over five weeks under a material witness warrant and evidence against him was sealed and presented in closed court. This sparked some elements of the controversy surrounding Hawash's arrest and detention."

Re:As opposed to the US ... (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760445)

Cry me a river, man. Let's quote from the Wikipedia article you cite:

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones asked Hawash during the hearing "You and the others in the group were prepared to take up arms, and die as martyrs if necessary, to defend the Taliban. Is this true?" Hawash replied "Yes, your honor."

He pled guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban, the same motherfuckers who shielded and funded the evil monsters who flew planes into the WTC, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, killing 3000 men, women, and children, some of whom leapt to their deaths from a thousand feet up rather than burn alive. If that isn't aid and comfort to the enemy, I don't know what is. In previous centuries he would have been hanged as a traitor.

Now of course the tone of the article -- and your post -- is that the guy may have lied to the Court about what he was doing and falsely pled guilty to a charge with a seven-year sentence to avoid taking his changes in front of a jury of his peers on more serious charges. Maybe so. But if he did, that's just first-class stupid, not to mention subversive of any hope that he might be trusted in his other statements (about what he was doing trying to go to Afghanistan, for example). If you perjure yourself in Court, on any matter, you can hardly expect to be believed about anything at all.

So am I bugged that either a traitor or a dumfuk liar with complete contempt for the principle of telling the truth under oath was held for five weeks with "limited" access to his attorneys? Not even a smidge.

Re:As opposed to the US ... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760291)

... where it's currently 6+ years and counting.

Oh wait, I forgot - they're not being held by the police, and they're not actually in America. My bad.
They're also not people, at least according to legal advice given by Alberto Gonzalez verbally to the Bush and his terrier Barney in a cold war bunker under his ranch at 4:32am on 9/11/2001. Gonzalez didn't just promised to forget the conversation, he actually did. By 4:35am, he had really had forgotten.

But this dubious but very convenient piece of legal mindfuck, mostly inspired by Babylonian Numerology and obesseive reading of lurid pulp biographies of famous tyrants whilst high on cocaine rather than more traditional American legal sources, lead to Gonzalez being nominated for Attorney General 3 years later.

There his record was at best mixed, but that is another story.

Re:As opposed to the US ... (1)

ameyer17 (935373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760473)

In the unlikely event you're serious...

They're also not people, at least according to legal advice given by Alberto Gonzalez verbally to the Bush and his terrier Barney in a cold war bunker under his ranch at 4:32am on 9/11/2001.

Except Bush was in Florida on 9/11 until after the terrorists did their thing at about 9 AM, and then he got put in a hole in the ground in Nebraska if I recall correctly.

Great... (5, Insightful)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760061)

We don't need terrorists anymore, we are doing their job for them. Thanks Gordon.

Hmmm.... (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760063)

As mentioned above, the bill has to make it through the house of lords yet, and since the Lords are usually the "conscience" of the legal process in the UK (weird, but true), it's highly unlikely to make it.

And, of course, 42 days in police custody, still with all human-rights privileges and in a standard jail subject to standard civilian law is a significantly better deal than several years in a foreign military jail, with questionable legal status, and subject to military law and "process". I very very much doubt these suspects, held for 42 days maximum, will be tortured and humiliated, either.

In other words, glass-house-dwellers, throw no stones...

Simon.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Suhas (232056) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760131)

Wait, so it is ok because it is better than gitmo? Is that the new standard?

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760167)

Did you see me say it was ok ? No ? Then don't put words into my mouth.

The summary is ridiculously biased, or shows a shocking level of ignorance. When the summary is so poorly written, it's not unreasonable to rebalance it a little.

I'm not a religious man by any means, but I think there's a parable about removing the plank-of-wood from your own eye before trying to take the splinter out of your brothers. Seems remarkably fitting, here...

Simon

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760397)

The summary is ridiculously biased, or shows a shocking level of ignorance. When the summary is so poorly written, it's not unreasonable to rebalance it a little.

But you'll also notice that the summary is entirely a quote from the submitter with none of the commentary coming from the editor. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to assume that this story about a bill in the House of Commons was submitted by somebody in the UK? In that case - a UK story submitted, presumably, by a UK citizen - there seems little need to inject some United States bashing to "rebalance" the issue.

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760137)

In other words, glass-house-dwellers, throw no stones...
You make a good point but consider that the UK has not been immune to the trend to restrict the rights of citizens. This proposed legislation just proves that, once the precedent of imprisonment without charge is set, the temptation to stretch and grow this new tool of social control is too great for most.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760157)

Suspicion is that it only got passed in the House of Commons because of party politics - Labour making deals with one of the Northern Irish parties. There's less party politics in the House Of Lords, which explains the 'conscience' thing. However, it's not so much the conscience of the people, but the conscience of a bunch of unelected ex-politicians, politician's friends, and bishops.

And of course the House Of Commons can overrule the House Of Lords by invoking the Parliament Act.

Re:Hmmm.... (4, Insightful)

tomalpha (746163) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760247)

The tragic thing about all this, is that it won't get through the upper chamber and Gordon Brown knows this. His problem was that losing the vote would show him up as a weak leader, and not in control of his own party. This way he'll get to blame the unelected House of Lords (many of whom he and Tony appointed under their People's Peers programme) for the legislation not being passed. [guardian.co.uk]

Ironically, we may end up with all the negative effects from such legislation without any of the (supposed) benefits - i.e. actually being able to lock people up. World + dog outside the UK will believe that it's been passed, removing us even further from what little moral high ground we've got left to stand on and eroding UK citizens' perceptions of their own liberty. This is perhaps the first time I've ever said this, but thank god for the unelected, undemocratic House of Lords. Without them, this would already be law.

Am I simplifying this? Probably, yes. It just seems that regardless of the merits or otherwise of this legislation (and no Slashdot, I'm not arguing in favour of it), getting the vote through the House of Commons was more about saving Brown's arse than actually achieving anything.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760433)

Well said. Although I suspect that even an elected upper house would have thrown this turd of a bill out. The question is: will GB use the Parliament Act to override the Lords on this matter. I suspect not - it'll be held up in committee stage for six months or so, and the Lords for a good few months - so it'll be around election planning time by the time it resurfaces. Strongly suspect a "time has run out" excuse, with a promise to reintroduce it if they get re-elected, which is not very likely. But at least Brown has shown himself to be tough. And that's so much more important than piddling matters like governing the country well.

Everything about it is gesture politics. Given all the caveats that have been put in place to get the bill through, it's actually just a shadow of the Civil Contingencies Act (which is already law).

In other words, if a genuine emergency takes place (ie, multiple terrorist outrages), Parliament can be called to grant the police emergency holding power - enabling suspects to be held for up to 58 days.

So, what this bill does is grant a weaker set of powers to the government than it already has. But GB had to show that he wouldn't be soft on these terrorist chappies.

Pure political grandstanding. And you know what? I really can't figure out who it's designed to impress. Normally, it would be the right wing tabloid segment, but the Daily Wail will never support Brown in anything he does - short of his televised public suicide - and then they'd whine about it being on at family viewing times.

In terms of actually getting used, I suspect that this legislation - even were it to be passed - would sit on the statute books until they rot.

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Interesting)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760273)

The original Prevention of Terrorism Act which allowed for an extension to detention without being charged was originally brought up to tackle acts of terror in the UK (both mainland and Northern Ireland).

The principle sounded fine. What was not so well known ws that some police used to abuse this to pressurise someone under arrest. This would happen when the police would report a suspicion that firearms were involved with a possibility that they may reach terrorists. The additional time would allow for the Police to gather more evidence but it reality, it was more a way of leaning on the detainees.

It may be better than Gitmo, but the principle is stll a slippery slope away from Habeas Corpus. It is also not thought to be particularly helpful by members of the security forces.

Slashdot, as usual, can't wait to bash Britain. (4, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760073)

To hell with facts, let's just post grossly misrepresented stories. The police *can't* hold terror suspects for 42 days, until this is passed by the House of Lords, which is unlikely to happen.

I could understand it if /. got similar stories in the US so utterly wrong, for example if some congressman from Bumfuck, Iowa proposed the death penalty for people caught with more than 1g of cannabis, and /. reported it as a huge roundup and mass execution of dope smokers.

Of course, it's posted by samzenpus, who seems to have a particular dislike of the UK.

Re:Slashdot, as usual, can't wait to bash Britain. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760117)

You're being a bit unfair. Of course the police *can* hold a suspect for 42 days. The fact of the matter is they can hold a suspect for as long as they want, in fact keeping them "forever" may be easier. All this bill aims to do is extend the legal date.

Re:Slashdot, as usual, can't wait to bash Britain. (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760217)

In which case, your point becomes "The police can break the law". Which, of course, is true - but lacks any sort of argumentative strength.

Re:Slashdot, as usual, can't wait to bash Britain. (2, Informative)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760181)

That is right, for the time being the can only hold you for 28 days http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7449678.stm [bbc.co.uk] . It is not as if the UK has the most cameras and the strictest terrorist laws of all of Europe. Nor is it the country that pressed for the European Human Rights Charter to not be part of the EU constitution. :-P

Billing the prisoners (4, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760075)

Did they pass the bill for charging prisoners for their Information Retrieval Procedures yet? Is that next week?

Re:Billing the prisoners (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760207)

Not sure what you are talking about but the UK will actually bill prisoners who were falsely detained. For example the Birmingham six were charged for bed and board after being released as innocent.

Re:Billing the prisoners (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760407)

He's talking about 'Brazil', the film directed by Terry Gilliam. We're getting there. I have to fill in a 27b/6 when I want to do some plumbing.

Question (1)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760091)

Besides it being the answer to the ultimate question, why was 42 chosen and not 43 or 41?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760125)

42 days = 6 weeks...nice round number for them I guess?

Re:Question (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760135)

Six weeks. Nice round number. If it had been 43, people would just have said 'why not 42, it's a nice round number of weeks'.

Quite why they need forty-something anyway we don't know...

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760151)

It went down well with the focus group.

Re:Question (1)

KostasPlenty (1285896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760327)

Yes of course i though about the number of weeks (cough) :-)
In any case I still don't understand what they can achieve in 6 weeks that they cannot in 4. Why not keep them until they are ready to press charges (forever)? It is not as if they don't violate their human rights in 4 weeks anyway. Why not go the whole way and keep them forever like the US?
I have to say that in 42 days with the UK police (the ones who invented some of the more modern torture methods that don't include physical violence) without charges I would confess to anything, including the fact that I am an elephant.

Nothing new (0, Flamebait)

the100rabh (947158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760097)

They had similar policies in almost all their colonies. Britishers are one of the biggest racist cultures. History of British India as I have read has 100s of such stories. I dont know if you know Jaliawala Bagh but here it is for u http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_Massacre [wikipedia.org] ...read for interesting insights in British policies in India

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760213)

My grandfather killed your grandfather nyah nyah lets fight...

idiot

51st state (1)

Zoxed (676559) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760139)

Fellow dis-United Kingdommers: welcome to the 51st State.

Tories vs Labor (3, Interesting)

prakslash (681585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760141)

I am not from the UK but what I find interesting is that this bill was opposed by the Tories. The Tories (i.e. the Conservative party) in the UK used to be more like the Republican party in the USA. The Tories were after all the party of Margaret Thatcher - Reagan's best friend.

Now, the Tories have become the more liberal party like the Dems in the USA and are vehemenetly trying to prevent the degradation of Habeas Corpus principles. The Labor party (which used to be more left-leaning Jimmy Carter type) has turned into a Neocon haven under Blair and Brown.

Re:Tories vs Labor (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760295)

The Tories opposed it because they need contentious issues to argue over, not because they wouldn't do it themselves.

Note that they also argue against the governments attempts to have private health bosses take over failing hospitals, even though it was the Tories who started the privatisation of publicly owned services in the first place.

Personally I don't think there's much difference between the Labour Party and the Conservatives any more. That's no big deal, in spite of what whichever one isn't in power says about the others failings, they end up doing almost exactly the same things.

Re:Tories vs Labor (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760337)

Both the Tories and Labour are more liberal socially to the major parties in the US, but fiscally they are all over the place. When you look at UK politics, it's actually much more colorful because the press is actually skeptical when it comes to reporting on the government and *also* the opposition, even on TV. Describing it in a horizontal continuum doesn't really make sense and in the UK, people just don't think about in that way that much.

Re:Tories vs Labor (1)

slim (1652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760451)

It's more that Labour moved right than that the Tories moved left.

So now there's no electable left-wing party. It's a tragedy.

not yet it can't (3, Insightful)

aristolochene (997556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760159)

Except, of course, the bill has to get through the Lords. Which it almost certainly won't. Even Lord Goldsmith (ex attorney general, promoted to Lords) is against it.

Then it has to be voted on again by the Commons - which could be in a few months time. Only then will it become law (ignoring formality royal assent, and possible rare use of Parliament Act).

Who knows what Brown's ability to force sick MPs into the house to vote, and what deals N. Ireland MPs will insist upon then?

I honestly think a few months down the line, when it comes to the crunch, the government could loose this, and force a vote of no confidence vote on Brown.

In any case UK is still a way off from 42 day detention......

Is that because after 42 days (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760191)

they interrogate the suspects and expect to get the answer to everything?

42 days (4, Funny)

elmartinos (228710) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760235)

Looks like the Brits finally have acknowledged that 42 is the answer to everything.

Hm. Nice spin on the summary... (1, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23760315)

Sure, the poor sod was billed 12500 for bed and ledging...
But that was only subtracted from the 200k+ he got as compensation.
Which makes this a complete counterexample.

In soviet UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760391)

42 holds you!

Which the US/UK is more free is irrelevent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760463)

Hasn't anyone noticed that the two countries are ACTING IN CONCERT?

The US will 'try out' one kind of suppression of liberty, while the UK will try out another. If one works then both countries will eventually adopt it. It's just like the spy agreements to spy on our respective populations.

Both are now as bad as each other. I think that you will find that the advisers in government who are doing this talk to each other, work closely with each other, and probably jet across the pond once a week to visit each other and see how their respective plans are working....

I'll vacation elsewhere thank you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23760509)

Wow, I once wanted to visit the UK. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some criminal mastermind or something. It's just the idea that I could be out from the hotel enjoying a pint at a local pub and suddenly find myself dragged off to a cell where they do god knows what to me for 40 days. All because I walked past some camera that either glitched or simply that I look like Ali Mohammed Al'Mujahidin (he looks just like a cracker from southern cali for some reason). I have the not only the joy of losing my job because I was on vacation a touch too long but then the bastards are going make me pay for it once they realize I'm some programmer from south western United States?

Treatment like that is why I don't vacation in Pakistan, Egypt or China. Thanks for the warning about the whole 42 days issue, but the idea of having to pay for the pleasure of being screwed by some daft Bobbies is more then enough to ensure I'll never visit the UK.
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