Control orders should be scrapped - AI

Statement from Amnesty International
31 October 2007

Law lords control orders ruling may lead to equally-unfair 'control order lite' warns amnesty

Amnesty International today warned that today's Law Lords ruling may only lead to the government persisting with a watered-down Control Order regime that remains fundamentally unfair.

The organisation applauded the Lords' decision to rule against some of the worst features of Control Orders, such as 18-hour curfews and the witholding of key evidence from some defendants. But Amnesty expressed concern that the Control Order regime still stands and called for it to be abandoned altogether.

Amnesty International UK's Head of Policy and Government Affairs Jeremy Croft said:

'We welcome the Law Lords' ruling against the worst excesses of Control Orders, such as 18-hour curfews and the witholding of key evidence from defendants. But while the unfair Control Order regime still stands, there is a real danger that the government will merely impose watered-down 'Control Orders Lite'.

'The fundamentals may well remain the same - Control Orders empower the Home Secretary to unfairly restrict people's basic freedoms, for reasons the people targeted do not know in full and cannot challenge effectively.

'Control Orders should be scrapped. The courts are the best place to fight terrorism - if someone is suspected of involvement in terrorism they should be charged with a criminal offence and put on trial. We should prosecute, not persecute.'

Amnesty International called on the UK government to abandon the use of Control orders and urged the government instead to make a firm and public commitment that from now on people suspected of involvement in terrorism will be charged with a criminal offence, and will be promptly brought to a fair trial.