20 Years of TACT: Justice under Threat
CAGE’s latest report, 20 Years of TACT: Justice under Threat provides an analysis of the use and impact of two decades of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000, which passed in to law on 20th July 2000. The report provides statistical and case evidence testifying to how TACT 2000, alongside successive counter-terror legislation, has led to the erosion of rights, the subversion of the judicial system through the increasing use of secret evidence, and the entrenchment of discrimination against Muslims and foreign nationals.
The report provides statistical and case evidence testifying to how TACT 2000, alongside successive counter-terror legislation, has led to the erosion of rights, the subversion of the judicial system through the increasing use of secret evidence, and the entrenchment of discrimination against Muslims and foreign nationals.
The report makes these key observations :
1. The CT regime has expanded to unprecedented levels, even further than at the height of the Irish “troubles”.
2. The expansion of CT powers is largely due to pre-crime convictions for offences that are far removed from acts of violence, such as possession of proscribed material, or evidence probative of an intention to commit offences.
3. Prosecutions succeed primarily because the burden of proof shifts to the defendant and the reliance on secret evidence, undermining fundamental principles of justice. Moreover cases are tried in an environment of Islamophobia, and the securitisation of Islamic belief, knowledge and practice.
4. The amplification of terror arrests is used as a benchmark of ‘success’, to capture more funding and power – despite only 11.6% of all terror arrests resulting in convictions. As a result the public is forced to accept wholescale securitisation and surveillance in every sphere of life.
5. The bar for what constitutes a terrorism offence is so low it now includes actions that bear no connection to violence or even ideology. The statistical increases in terrorism convictions is not evidence of an increase in ‘terrorism’, but more about the net being widened further.
6. The proscribing of ‘terrorist’ organisations is more about foreign policy concerns than domestic security.
The report calls for the abolition of CT legislation, and outlines three basic steps towards a society based on trust and the elimination of mass surveillance and securitisation.
This requires us to Revoke the CT regime and return to the use of the standard criminal law process, to Repair the damage caused to communities targeted by the CT regime , and to* Re-evaluate* by fostering an environment built on social security as opposed to “national security”.