It must be a sign of the times that as we mark 800 years of Magna Carta we expect a law that will tear it to shreds to pass through parliament largely unscathed. The Counter-terrorism and Security Act, which was given Royal Assent yesterday, gives the government Stasi-like powers to arrest, detain and render stateless, people whom the security agencies feel are at risk of ‘extremism’.
Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, said:
‘The CTS Act is the latest in a long line of anti-terrorism measures that have been rushed through parliament without proper scrutiny and which have failed to look at the reasons behind politically motivated violence. As with previous anti-terrorism measures, it will not make us any safer. Rather it will largely backfire by alienating the very communities it should be engaging in order to find peaceful solutions.’
‘The historic criminal justice system in the UK is capable of handling cases of political violence. The CTS Act further entrenches a discriminatory parallel legal system used exclusively for Muslims. Evidence of this was seen most poignantly in the discrepancies between the sentencing of a British soldier who possessed an explosive device and a number of returnees from Syria who on arrest were said to pose ‘no threat to the British public’. The CTS Act is superfluous.’
‘More can still be done to oppose this bill. Section 5 of the Act which relates to PREVENT (and here) is reliant on a March vote before it can be implemented.
In order to combat this attempt to crush dissent and criminalise the innocent, now is the time to create a broad alliance between civil society organisations, workers’ unions, students’ union, health centres and other. The battle is far from over.’
(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.)