May 19, 2010

Why the Human Rights Act means we can’t deport Abid Naseer

Posted in Politics, War on Terror at 11:59 pm by David Gould

The HRA simply allows breaches of the European Convention of Human Rights to be adjudicated in Britain rather than Brussels. The ECHR was arguably British to begin with and we were the first signatory in 1953.
So scrapping the HRA makes no difference – we would also have to leave or be expelled by the ECHR.

The ECHR has a prohibition on torture. As we all know, the Labour administration was complicit in extraordinary rendition – the act of getting round one’s anti-torture laws by flying people to another country and having them tortured there.

I suspect what Justice Mitting said was politically inspired and designed to rock the coalition. His hands were not quite so tied as he implied. He could simply have agreed to the deportation and had his ruling quashed by the Law Lords (which is now called the Supreme Court).

It is also worth noting that the police investigation was massively botched. This is the one you may remember Bob Quick resigning for after his notes were photographed by a photojournalist. Amazingly, the Manchester police did not know they needed evidence to hold the suspects longer than 14 days.

So, the options are:
1. Scrap the HRA and get expelled from the ECHR, or
2. Don’t botch the investigation/prosecution, don’t encourage extraordinary rendition, and minimise the problem by working under the HRA, working towards convictions and using control orders where necessary.

In my opinion, even weak control orders are effective. Most terrorists may be stupid but they’re still not going to trust their big attack to someone who’s obviously being watched by MI5. And if they do, they’ll be stopped.

Keystone cops aside, Abid Naseer, whilst under surveillance, is of no great threat to this country.

Having said that, there is a clear distinction between deportation and extraordinary rendition. An independent appointee could be trusted with the facts and arrange safe passage, fake papers & monitor the situation.

The HRA and ECHR didn’t stop our own Govt aiding in extraordinary rendition and lying about it for years. They have not been punished – indeed one of the main instigators is favourite to become the next Labour leader. The prohibition on torture would be much more useful if Minsters were subject to prompt investigation (by the House of Lords), had to testify under oath and faced prison for breaking the prohibition.

To me, the way forward is clear. Work within the HRA until we have a constitution which provides better protection.

I found this article one of the better ones.

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