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British MPs say anti-terror bill violates human rights law

[JURIST] Britain's Joint Committee on Human Rights [official website] warned Friday that the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Bill [PDF text, JURIST report], even with an amendment allowing only judges to impose house arrest [JURIST report] on terror suspects, does not comply with human rights laws. The committee, which is made up of MPs and peers, has said that the procedures outlined in the proposed bill do not allow for a lawyer to make a defense case at any early stage and uses too low a threshold of evidence. The committee also expressed concern over whether the extent of judicial involvement, or lack thereof, in the issuance of "control orders" satisfies the European Convention on Human Rights' [PDF] requirement that "deprivations of liberty must be lawful." Read the committee report on the anti-terror bill [PDF text]. The UK Home Office has said that the government remains satisfied that the bill complies with human rights law. Also Friday, in an interview with BBC Radio 4's The World at One Program, former law lord Lord Ackner said that the judiciary has profound misgivings about measures in the bill which keep a defendant from being told about the case against him. Lord Ackner said "It sounds so much better to say 'we'll leave it to the judge', but if you leave it to the judge without his being able to exercise the obligations of due process, you are not leaving it to the judge at all." Listen to recorded audio of the BBC Radio interview. BBC News has more.

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