A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

UK court rejects 'freedom fighter' defense in terrorism case

[JURIST] The England and Wales Court of Appeals (Criminal Division) [official website] ruled Friday that UK terrorism laws do not allow for a "freedom fighter" defense [opinion text]. The defendant in the case, a Libyan identified as "F", was arrested in late 2005 and charged with violating Terrorism Act 2000 [text] Section 58 (1)(b) [text] by possessing documents useful in furtherance of terrorism, specifically a CD downloaded from a Jihadist website. F, who was granted asylum in the UK in 2003 after his family was allegedly murdered by or on behalf of the regime of Col. Muammar Gadafi [official website], denied knowingly possessing the documents, but alternatively argued that even if he did possess them, it would not be in violation of the law if the knowledge was used against Gadafi's tyrannical regime.

The three presiding justices rejected the argument, finding that the Terrorism Act 2000 applied to countries governed by tyrants and dictators since it lacked an exception for terrorist activities "motivated or said to be morally justified by the alleged nobility of the terrorist cause." The justices also said that, given the random impact of terrorist activities, citizens of Libya could also expect to be protected from potential terrorism by UK residents. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.