Britain’s bogus “State of Emergency”

The Guardian Letters Wednesday November 10, 2004

Shame of Hue and Falluja

Your editorial (Fearful in Falluja, November 9) rightly expresses alarm at the Iraqi provisional government using emergency powers, “like so many other Arab regimes, that would have been normal in the bad old Ba’athist days”.

Perhaps Ayad Allawi is taking a leaf out of our own government’s book: it too, alone among western European countries, has been using special powers under a “state of emergency” declared after 9/11 to send foreigners to prison without charge or trial, purely on the basis of what the home secretary thinks they might do. It is a blatant fiction designed to relieve the government of its human rights obligation under national and international law to allow those whom it imprisons to have a fair trial.

If the law lords in their forthcoming decision fail to overturn it, there will be an urgent need for parliament to do so. What a disgraceful example for the nation of Magna Carta to set to the world, including Iraq and “many other Arab regimes”!

Brian Barder (Diplomatic Service 1965-94),
London
http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1347202,00.html

[cf. my original text, omissions or changes in bold:

Your editorial (Fearful in Falluja, November 9) rightly expresses alarm at the Iraqi Provisional Government “using emergency powers, like so many other Arab regimes, that would have been normal in the bad old Ba’athist days.”

Perhaps Mr Allawi is taking a leaf out of our own government’s book: it too, alone among western European countries, has been using special powers under a “state of emergency” declared after 9/11 in order to send foreigners to prison without charge or trial, purely on the basis of what the home secretary thinks they might do in the future, without having to show even the probability that they have done anything wrong in the past.

The state of emergency is a blatant fiction designed exclusively to relieve the government of its human rights obligation under national and international law to allow those whom it imprisons to have a fair trial. If the law lords in their forthcoming decision on this outrage fail to overturn it, there will be an urgent need for parliament to do so without further delay. What a disgraceful example for the nation of Magna Carta to set to the rest of the world, including Iraq and “many other Arab regimes”!]

Brian
http://www.barder.com/brian/
10 Nov 04

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry this along with the removal of the right to silence, double jeopardy, not having previous convictions revealed in court and so on will make us *all* so much safer (not).

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