Terror detention plans attacked by bishop: CEN 11.30.07 p 4. December 3, 2007Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Politics.
Bishop Carl Cooper argued the government was manipulating public fears about terrorism to restrict civil liberties.He told Radio Cymru on Nov 21 that “it is easy to use the politics of fear to justify repressive and regressive policies that, under different circumstances, would not be acceptable. Fear makes populations tolerant of extreme remedies, providing opportunities for the unscrupulous to create ‘emergencies’ and, consequently, put in place ‘emergency powers’.”
Last week the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf, the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith and the Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald announced their opposition to the planned extension of government powers.
Lord Goldsmith told the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee on Nov 21 that although “the reasons for making the proposals are based on a genuine belief that it is the right thing to do in protecting the country,” extending the limit to 56 days was not warranted.
Suspected terrorists risked being browbeaten, he said, and there arose the possibility of “continually questioning them when there isn’t any new material at all.”
Bishop Cooper told Radio Cymru the “21st Century is already producing, under the guise of war on terror, a series of reductions in civil liberties. The language of ‘protecting rights of law-abiding citizens’ and ‘rebalancing criminal justice system in favour of victim’ has wide appeal.”
“However, as we consider the ousting of courts from reviewing asylum appeals, the imprisoning without trial of foreign citizens suspected of terrorist connections and the extension of detention without charge to more than the existing 28 days, we must be vigilant in protecting the civil liberty of every citizen,” Bishop Cooper said.
Fear, he said, “can lead to all kinds of inappropriate and dangerous measures and policies.”