UK appeals court upholds ruling quashing control orders for terror suspects

[JURIST] The UK Court of Appeal ruled [text] Tuesday that six terror suspects cannot be detained without charge under so-called control orders [BBC backgrounder], which are used when there is not enough evidence to prosecute. UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] had appealed a High Court ruling [JURIST reports], arguing that it had contained "misunderstandings and errors." The High Court ruled [text] in June that the orders authorizing the electronic monitoring or house arrest of terror suspects based on insufficient evidence to try them violate the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF], but a government lawyer told the Court of Appeal that the High Court misapplied the language of the convention and that Parliament tailored the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 [text], which authorizes the orders, to pass muster under the convention. Control orders allow the government to impose house arrest and electronic surveillance on suspects and to forbid them from using mobile phones and the Internet. Reid said he would change the control orders, but will also appeal Tuesday's ruling. BBC News has more.

The Court of Appeal also handed down a second judgment [text] in a related case Tuesday, ruling that a lower court judge "was in error in holding that the provisions for review by the court of the making of a non-derogating control order by the Secretary of State do not comply with the requirements of [ECHR] Article 6." The second case involves a man identified only as "MB," who the British government alleges intended to go to Iraq to fight coalition forces. Justice Sullivan, the same High Court judge who ruled in the above case, in April held that control orders, as applied to MB, violated his right to a fair trial [ruling; JURIST report] under the Human Rights Act [text], which incorporates ECHR rights into British law, and were an "affront to justice."

 

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