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UK jury selection begins in transatlantic airplane bombing plot trial

[JURIST] Jury selection began Wednesday for the UK trial of eight men accused of plotting to blow up US-bound jetliners [JURIST report] over the Atlantic. In August 2006, prosecutors charged [press release; JURIST report] the eight with conspiracy to commit murder and endangering aircraft bound for the United States and Canada. The trial, which will begin Thursday [Telegraph report], is expected to last up to eight months. Reuters has more. BBC News has local coverage.

The foiled bomb plot prompted calls to extend the Terrorism Act 2006 [PDF text; official backgrounder], which permits British law enforcement officials to detain and question suspected terrorists for up to 28 days before suspects must be charged with a crime or released. Then UK Home Secretary John Reid told cabinet colleagues in February last year that the complexity of the airplane bombing investigation warranted extension [JURIST report] of the detention period. Parliament is currently considering a new bill [BBC report] that would give authorities the option of imposing up to 42 days detention on terror suspects.

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