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UK government offers more rights concessions on terror bill

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke offered additional concessions on the British government's proposed Prevention of Terrorism Bill [UK Parliament text] Wednesday after the legislation came back from the upper chamber House of Lords riddled with amendments designed to protect traditional civil liberties [UK Parliament text] against potentially-arbitrary state action. Changes called for by the Lords included the issuance of all so-called "control orders" limiting the movements of terror suspects by judges rather than the government, elevation of the burden of proof for control orders from "reasonable grounds" to "balance of probablities", the prohibition of evidence obtained against suspects by torture abroad, and the introduction of a "sunset clause" on the legislation to take effect at the end of November. The Home Secretary said that the bill would be revised to provide for all control orders to be issued by judges except in emergencies (with judicial review in seven days) and to be renewable on an annual basis. No change is to be made on the burden of proof issue, however. Opposition parties in the Commons Wednesday decried the proposed changes as inadequate and constituting a "formula for the miscarriage of justice." BBC News has local coverage.

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