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Gonzales calls UK 28-day detention policy useful anti-terror tool

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] on Wednesday praised new British anti-terrorism laws [UK Home Office materials] that helped thwart a terror plot [JURIST report] to explode jetliners traveling over the Atlantic Ocean, saying that the provision that allows British authorities to detain terror suspects for up to 28-days without charge [JURIST report] is a useful tool. The UK detention policy differs sharply from US laws, where American authorities must charge or release a suspect within 48 hours under the civilian court system, although detention of "enemy combatants" under the jurisdiction of the Defense Department may be much longer. Gonzales, however, added that such a change to US laws is not on the horizon yet and any amendments to US terror law must comply with requirements in the US constitution. Earlier this week, Gonzales called for a side-by-side comparison of US and UK counterterrorism laws [JURIST report].

Gonzales, responding to questions after a speech [prepared remarks] in Pittsburgh, also denied that the US uses torture as a means of obtaining information from terror suspects in the name of national security, adding that US authorities treat terror detainees humanely under the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials]. Lastly, Gonzales noted that the widely criticized US detention center at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] is necessary for counterterrorism efforts, saying that the "perception is much worse than the reality." AP has more. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has local coverage.

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