26 January 2011
Quilliam, the counter-extremism think-tank, has welcomed the UK government’s review of counter-terrorism powers that was announced earlier today in the House of Commons by Theresa May, the Home Secretary. The announced measures are a much-needed attempt to better balance the demands of security with protecting human rights.
Quilliam particularly welcomes the reform, rebranding and down-scaling of Control Orders while recognising that some sort of control and monitoring system may remain necessary in a small number of cases in order to help prevent terrorist attacks in the UK and abroad.
Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam’s Director, says:
“Today’s review of the government’s counter-terrorism powers is a welcome and positive development. The system of control orders established by the previous government was seen to be an imperfect but necessary evil and it is therefore right that it has been reviewed. It is good news that the Coalition has recognised the problems of the old control orders system while also recognising that, in the absence of any alternatives, scrapping the system altogether is not feasible and may increase the risk of terrorist attacks.
‘At the same, we should remember that there is no substitute for giving people a fair and open trial. The government, the police and the security services need to make sure that wherever possible suspected terrorists receive fair trials in which they and their lawyers are able to view and challenge all the evidence against them before a jury. British traditions of justice should be upheld and defended wherever possible. Control orders – or whatever system replaces them – should remain only a last resort.’
‘It should also be recognised that in many cases such control and monitoring systems are an alternative to deporting individuals to countries where they may be at risk of torture or execution.’