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UK Lord Chancellor backs expanded police questioning of terror suspects

[JURIST] UK Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer [official profile] on Wednesday backed a proposal to allow police officers to question terror suspects after they have been formally charged. Following a speech [text] defending the UK Human Rights Act [text; backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Falconer implied in response to questions that the post-charge questioning proposal could also extend to serious criminal offenses besides terrorism. Current UK laws prohibit police officers from questioning terror suspects after they have been formally charged. Last year, in the wake of several controversial court rulings, Falconer hinted that the government might introduce legislation [JURIST report] that would prevent the Human Rights Act from interfering with public safety matters.

Falconer also hinted at proposals that will further restrict the civil liberties of suspects, including a renewed effort [JURIST report] by Britain's Labour party government to extend the maximum amount of time that police can detain terror suspects before charging them. The terror detention limit has been an ongoing subject of controversy since 2005, when the House of Commons inflicted its first defeat [JURIST report] on the Blair government by cutting back its proposal for a 90-day period to the present 28, an extension over an earlier 14. The move towards greater restrictions results in part from the investigation into last summer's foiled transatlantic airplane bombing plot [JURIST report] and other high profile terror cases. Reuters has more.

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