The government’s own human rights watchdog threatened last night to launch a legal challenge to Labour’s plan to introduce a law that would let police detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days.The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the key part of the counter-terrorism bill goes against human rights law and may breach the Race Relations Act.
As the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, renewed her appeal to Labour backbenchers to support the measure – amid growing international criticism – the EHRC prepared to brief MPs before the bill’s second reading in the Commons tomorrow. The commission makes clear it will mount a legal challenge if the 42-day limit wins parliamentary backing.
“If adopted, we may seek to use our legal powers to challenge the lawfulness of the provisions and to establish clear legal principles on the use of pre-trial detention,” it says in a briefing note to MPs.
The threat of a legal challenge from the EHRC, which has powers to take judicial review on legislation it considers may be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, is another setback to a government determined to increase the time terrorism suspects can be held without charge from 28 to 42 days.
Government human rights watchdog attacks proposals for 42-day detention without chargePublished March 31, 2008 Britain , Civil Liberties , Detention Without Charge , Equality and Human Rights Commission , Fair Trial , Human Rights , Law & Order , Rule of Law , State , Terror Threat Leave a Comment