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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP calls for end to state harassment on 10th anniversary of controversial ‘anti-terrorism’ act

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert has demanded an end to the use of state persecution tactics including indefinite detention and control orders on the 10th anniversary of the first arrests under the 2001 Anti-Terror, Crime and Security Act.

The controversial legislation, rushed through Parliament in little over a month, handed the British Government power to detain and imprison foreign ‘terrorism’ suspects’ without charge or trial.  Just one month later, almost a dozen Muslim men had been detained who went on to be held for three years, without ever knowing the suspicions that kept them there and without being convicted of any offence.

Although released in 2004, the men, who have since become known as the Belmarsh Detainees, were subject to harsh bail conditions and threatened with deportation back to their home countries where torture and abuse almost certainly awaited. Tagged, with restrictions on their freedom, the men have had their civil liberties unacceptably curtailed for over seven years, with the Home Office yet to make a case against them.

The Government is now seeking to replace control orders with Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, which simply act as a rearrangement of the existing provisions.

Speaking before a special event organised by the Coalition Against Secret Evidence to commemorate the anniversary {1}, Jean, a long term human rights campaigner, said: “It has now been ten long years since the Belmarsh Detainees were first arrested, but the Home Office still remains silent on their supposed ‘crimes’, choosing instead to keep the group in a state of limbo and subjecting them to tyrannical bail conditions.  If there is sufficient evidence against the men, why has it not been used to charge them?

“Few people are aware of the heinous abuse of human rights that is happening on our own soil.  Suspects should know the case against them, stand trial, and, if found guilty, be imprisoned – the right to a fair trial should be unquestionable.”

Notes to Editor

1.  ‘Behind Closed Doors – Ten Years of Secret Evidence and Hidden Suffering’ will take place at the London Muslim Centre on Monday 19th December.  Jean will be joined on the panel by Gareth Peirce, Human Rights Lawyer, Anas Altikriti, CEO, Cordoba Foundation, Bruce Kent, Vice President, Pax Christi, and Asim Qureshi, Executive Director, Cage Prisoners.