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UK anti-terror bill becomes law

[JURIST] The UK Terrorism Act 2006 [PDF text; Home Office backgrounder] became law Thursday as the legislation received royal assent. A vote in the UK House of Lords last week cleared the way [JURIST report] for the bill to move forward, as the Lords backed down on their objections to including "glorification" of terrorism among the crimes covered in the new legislation. The legislation also authorizes up up to 28-days detention without trial [JURIST report] for terrorism suspects, the longest allowed by any western European country. The majority of the law's provisions will actually come into force on April 13 [press release].

The anti-terror legislation was presented for royal assent along with two other pieces of security-related legislation: the Identity Cards Act [PDF text; JURIST report] and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act [PDF text]. UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke said Thursday that the legislation strikes a balance "between the rights and freedoms of individuals and the security of all our citizens" and that:

This new legislation together will allow us to uphold our democratic right to freedom of speech and to free movement within the United Kingdom, as well as encouraging managed migration which will benefit the UK economy. At the same time, it will strengthen our ability to keep our borders secure, tackle illegal working and to go about our day to day business safely and secure in the knowledge that people are who they say they are.
Read Clarke's full press release.

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