(London, UK) CAGE has raised serious questions in relation to a clause within the Serious Crime Bill which allows the British government to prosecute individuals they deem to be preparing for acts of terrorism from outside UK jurisdiction.
to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), detailed a number of human rights breaches within the Bill.
The Bill aims to extend extra-territorial jurisdiction of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2006, effectively allowing the government to extend their powers under an act that has already been deemed excessively broad, both in terms of its reach and in its definition of “terrorism”.
CAGE’s points were later referenced in the JCHR’s report. They included the following concerns:
“The government has not shown the necessity for extending their jurisdiction extra-territorially. Further, there has been no proper examination or assessment of the threat posed by travellers to Syria.”
“The government has also failed to prove that there is in fact a gap in the current law.”
“Finally, and alarmingly, no alternatives to criminalisation were considered – for example to engage with communities in order to understand reasons behind travelling to begin with.”
The JCHR agreed on these points – and that the government did not demonstrate a need for such a dramatic extension of their powers.
CAGE also raised concern about issues concerning information sharing between the UK and foreign governments outside the legal framework, which could cast the reliability and impartiality of evidence in doubt – especially within the context of rapidly evolving and unpredictable political events.
Despite agreeing with some of the issues CAGE raised, unfortunately the JCHR were still satisfied with the government's justifications and so the provision has not been opposed.
The JCHR recommended that prosecutions brought under this clause should be monitored closely – to see if it as operationally useful as the government claims.
Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)