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UK parliament panel says 28-day terror detention limit may need extension

[JURIST] The UK parliament's Home Affairs Committee [official website] has warned that the 28-day limit for police to detain terror suspects without charge, mandated under the Terrorism Act 2006 [PDF text; Home Office backgrounder], may need to be extended. In a report [text] released Monday, the committee also said, however, that in order to increase the 28-day detention limit MPs will have to ensure greater safeguards of detainees' rights, including a requirement for compelling evidence against the terror suspect. While Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposed 90-day detention limit was rejected, the report recognizes that the "growing number of cases and the increases in suspects monitored by the police and security forces make it entirely possible" that compelling evidence for a longer detention period will become available. The report clearly stated, however, that recent cases have not given cause for a lengthier detention period.

The Terrorism Act 2006 became law in April [JURIST report], with the majority of its provisions taking effect immediately. The detention period limit became a point of contention last year when the House of Commons handed Blair his first defeat last November, substituting 28 days maximum detention for the initially-proposed 90-day limit [JURIST report]. The House of Lords later rejected a proposed 60-day detention [JURIST report] limit in January. BBC News has more.

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