Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Britain is continuing to erode fundamental human rights, Amnesty International claimed in its annual report

London's "continued failure" to set up an inquiry into the 1989 killing of Northern Ireland human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane was listed among the reasons for its findings.

The human rights organisation said the UK government was also damaging the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary - particularly in relation to its anti-terror legislation.

The allegations, contained in the charity's annual breakdown of human rights around the globe, focused on the Terrorism Act 2006, which doubled the amount of time terror suspects can be detained without charge to 28 days.

"Some of its provisions were inconsistent with fundamental human rights," the report said.

It also criticised the UK's emphasis on deporting terror suspects or placing them under control orders rather than subjecting them to criminal prosecution.

Control orders are a controversial measure which places suspects under a loose form of house arrest. The report said: "Consequent judicial proceedings were profoundly unfair, denying individuals the right to a fair hearing, including because of heavy reliance on secret hearings."

Amnesty's document also criticised the record 80,000 prison population in England and Wales, which it said was "linked with self-harm and self-inflicted deaths".

Unionists defeat equality motion


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