Detainees and control orders

Control orders create a ‘domestic prison’ regime

"The real threat to the life of the nation… comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these... It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has, until now, been very proud - freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention"
Lord Hoffman, December 2004

In March 2005, despite huge opposition from the public and the House of Lords, the Prevention of Terrorism Act became law. In the name of ‘anti-terror’ measures, the new ‘control orders’ treat people as guilty. They are branded forever as individuals ‘involved in terrorism-related activity’. These measures violate a fundamental principle: innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trial. They punish individuals for what they might do, not what they have done. Already such orders have restricted association, telephones and internet use, while imposing electronic tagging. Later these powers may be extended to house arrest. Any breach of such conditions could lead to imprisonment. More people may have new orders imposed at any time.

CAMPACC's submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Control Orders, February 2006. (pdf file)
On Friday 3rd December 2005 Lord Carlile published his report supporting the government’s use of ‘control orders’(under the PTA 2005), as measures supposedly necessary to protect us all from suicide bombings. Thus he justified punishment without trial, even without public evidence against those punished. The same day was the deadline for submissions to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) inquiry into control orders. CAMPACC’s submission attacked the ‘domestic prison’ regime which results from control orders and from bail conditions under the Immigration Act 1971. All these restrictions create a domestic prison for anyone who acts as a host, e.g. the person’s family, friend or volunteer. These measures violate basic human rights, yet the government acts as if no derogation from the ECHR is necessary.

Read the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Control Orders Report, February 2006 (pdf files)
On 14th February 2006, the JCHR published its report, appending submissions from several opponents of control orders (CAMPACC, SACC, Liberty, Justice, etc.). The solicitors Tyndallwoods quote their client Mr X as follows: ‘I was in prison before on my own, but now my whole family is in prison.’ (p.92). In its main report, Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights: Draft Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Continuance in force of sections 1 to 9) Order 2006, the JCHR regards control orders as so restrictive of liberty as to require a derogation from the ECHR. Moreover, argues the JCHR, control order proceedings amount to determination of a criminal charge and so warrant the full protections of a criminal trial. The Committee opposes the government’s plan to renew the control order powers without any derogation and without Parliamentary debate (before the powers lapsed on 11th March 2006). Read Scotland Against Criminalising Communities press release drawing out the main points of the report, 14 February 2006

No punishment without trial: repeal the political 'control orders'
CAMPACC's response to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and the control orders, March 2005

The end of Internment?
CAMPACC statement in reponse to the Law Lords’ ruling on indefinite detention, 23 December 2004.

Other articles and reports

Liberty Report: From 'War' to Law From 'War' to Law, (August 2010) draws together all of Liberty’s concerns over excessive and unjustified counter-terror measures introduced since the advent of the “War on Terror”, with control orders at the top of the list of internationally embarrassing assaults on fundamental human rights. Read the report here.
Amnesty International Report: UK - Submission for the Review of Counter Terrorism and Security Powers
On 13 July 2010, the Home Secretary announced a “rapid review” by the Home Office of key counter-terrorism powers. The purpose of this submission is to outline Amnesty International’s primary concerns in relation to four of the six powers under consideration; the control orders regime; the use of diplomatic assurances in the context of national security deportations; the 28 day limit for pre-charge detention of people suspected of terrorism-related activity; and the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Read the report here.

Anmesty International Report: UK violates rights of terror suspects with ‘unfair’ control orders

Amnesty International has accused the UK government of developing a "shadow justice system" that imposes severe restrictions on the rights of individuals suspected of terrorism-related activity.

In a new report, Five years on: time to end the control orders regime, the organization repeats its call on the UK government to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (PTA) and abandon the use of control orders that violate the individual’s rights to liberty, freedom of movement, expression, association and privacy. 12 August 2010

Britain's own Guantánamo
The injustices faced by those charged with control order breaches are indefensibly brutal.
Gareth Peirce, The Guardian, December 21, 2007

The reality of living under a control order
Statement made at the House of Lords meeting, 29 March 2006

Families speak out on control orders
A report of the meeting held in the House of Lords, 29 March 2006

The Forgotten Detainees under Control Orders
by Ann Alexamder, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, April 2005

A stampede against justice
In a plea to parliamentarians, Gareth Peirce spells out the dangers of control orders
The Guardian, 8 March 2005