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British government holds line on 90-day terror detentions

[JURIST] British Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] announced late Monday after consultations with government Labour Party MPs that the government will in fact not back down on a provision of the proposed Terrorism Bill [official text] that would allow terror suspects to be detained for up to 90 days without being charged with a crime, but will instead include a sunset clause in the term allowing the House of Commons to review the provision after a year. Clarke's announcement comes one day after Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated [JURIST report] the government would compromise on the 90-day provision. Clarke expects Labour Party MPs will support the amendment as it stands; the debate over the provision has been fierce [JURIST report], with Conservative Party members want a 28 day provision, and the Liberal Democrats say the period should remain at 14 days. Rights groups such as Amnesty International [advocacy website] and Liberty UK [website] oppose the bill [JURIST report], arguing that provisions such as the 90-day rule unnecessarily limit the freedom of British citizens. BBC News has more.

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