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British police charge two more air terror suspects as detention deadline looms

[JURIST] Twenty-eight days after initially detaining five British Muslim men among almost two dozen others arrested early last month in connection with an alleged terror plot [JURIST report] to blow up US-bound planes over the Atlantic, Scotland Yard [official website] has formally charged two of the still-jailed suspects, Donald Douglas Stewart Whyte and Muhammed Usman Saddique, with "preparing an act of terrorism." Police released a third suspect Wednesday and continued to hold the final two as the legal deadline to either charge or release the suspects approached. The Terrorism Act of 2006 [text] allows British law enforcement officials to detain and question suspected terrorists for up to 28 days before the suspects must be either charged with a crime or released. A total of 17 suspects have now been formally charged for their alleged ties to the terrorist plot.

A High Court judge in London granted British police [JURIST report] a final seven-day extension last week, which allowed for the continued detention of the five suspects until Wednesday, marking the longest detention [JURIST report] to date of suspects under the new Terrorism Act. British Home Secretary John Reid [official profile; BBC profile] indicated recently that he will appeal to British members of parliament to increase the maximum permissible detention period. AP has more.

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