View Full Version : UK House of Lords leads the pack

16-12-2004, 10:14 PM
16th Dec 2005

By Andrew Cawthorne and Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's top court delivered a severe jolt to Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s post-Sept. 11 security policies on Thursday by ruling against the detention of foreign terrorism suspects without trial.

The Law Lords ruled 8-1 in favor of nine Muslim men whose imprisonment under draconian anti-terror legislation -- some for as long as three years -- has become a cause celebre for rights activists who call their predicament "Britain's Guantanamo Bay."

"It's a very firm, hugely clear message by the Law Lords to the government saying people are being held illegally," said Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International's UK branch.

The ruling is a setback for Blair's government, which believes severe measures are necessary for the wider interest of the "war on terror."

A Home Office spokesman said they would remain behind bars while parliament looked at the law, which gives police powers to detain indefinitely, without trial, foreign nationals suspected of being involved in terror activities :eek:

Crucially, it does not apply to British citizens, a point that was stressed by the Law Lords :eek: .

"The measures are unjustifiably discriminatory against foreign nationals," :D Lord Thomas Bingham, head of the 9-judge panel told parliament, announcing the decision.