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2000 terror suspects living in UK: Home Secretary

[JURIST] There are approximately 2000 suspected terrorists living in Great Britain, up from last year's estimate of 1600, UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith [official website] said Tuesday. She recommended that legislators pass new terror laws to allow police to hold uncharged terror suspects beyond the current 28 day limit. Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] is to set to propose harsher anti-terrorism measures before parliament on Wednesday, including a proposal to either extend the detention times for holding uncharged terrorist suspects or else do away with the time limit entirely. Brown is also expected to propose allowing wiretaps to be introduced in court cases.

In 2005, British legislators voted against an amendment to Clause 23 of the Terrorism Bill [text], which would have extended detention times to 90 days, and instead settled on the current 28 day limit. The Tony Blair government re-floated the possibility of the longer limit [JURIST report] in March 2006, and the proposal gained momentum in November after London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair advocated an extension of the limit [JURIST report] in a major speech. Independent anti-terror law reviewer Lord Carlile has, however, warned lawmakers against "rushing" to make the change [JURIST report], and then-UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said during a media briefing late last year that he had not seen evidence to justify increasing the limit to 90 days [JURIST report]. Then-UK Home Secretary John Reid pushed for extending the limit [JURIST report] in February. AP has more.

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