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Top UK law officials denounce proposed detention without charge extension

[JURIST] Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf [BBC profile] Friday denounced the UK government's latest proposal to extend beyond 28 days the time that terror suspects can be held without charge, supporting positions taken by other current and former top legal officials earlier in the week. On Wednesday current Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald [official profile] and former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith criticized the plan. Goldsmith, who resigned [JURIST report] earlier this year when Gordon Brown took over as prime minister, said he sees no need to extend the current limit. "The reasons for making proposals are based on a genuine belief that it is the right thing to do in protecting the country," he told the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee, but added that extending the limit to the proposed 56 days is not merited. He pointed out that post-charge questioning can help address such concerns, suggesting that holding suspects too long without charge can lead to "browbeating" and "continually questioning them when there isn't any new material at all."

Goldsmith opposed [JURIST report] former prime minister Tony Blair's attempts to increase the limit to 90 days and said he would have resigned then if MPs had not whittled that proposal down to 28 days. In July, current PM Gordon Brown renewed the initiative to extend the timeframe [JURIST report]. Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights promptly rejected the proposal [JURIST report]. BBC News has more. The Guardian has local coverage.

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