the Disillusioned kid: Prevention of Terrorism, my arse!
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Friday, February 25, 2005

Prevention of Terrorism, my arse!

I'm on a whole host of email lists, among them the Justice Not Vengeance announcements list. Today they sent out an urgent action, from Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), which some of you might care to participate in. They encourage people to participate in a lobby of MPs against the so-called Prevention of Terrorism Bill. You can do this in person and/or send them a letter. You may not all be able to do the former, but the latter is incredibly easy.

The ever useful is in the process of being updated to allow you to contact not only your MP, but also MEPs and councillors. The new site is available here. Despite this the old site is still available at the old url, so you've got a choice. Simply saunter along to either and follow the instructions. Either write a letter of your own, or use this one (a combination of CAMPACC's suggestion with my own thoughts) as a starting point and adapt, according to your prejudices:
I am writing to express my concern about the so-called Prevention of Terrorism Bill and to urge you to vote against it.

I am deeply concerned that the Bill is being rushed through the House with unseemly haste and without appropriate Parliamentary and public scrutiny.

The Bill proposes to remove the presumption of innocence, which until now has been the core principle of British justice, and vests the power with the Home Secretary to deprive a person of his/her liberty on the basis of suspicion rather than proof.

The Bill proposes closed retrospective judicial reviews where evidence obtained by secret intelligence will be used, possibly even where this has been obtained through torture by third parties. The system of closed sessions will also prevent the accused testing the case against him in any meaningful way.

I fear that the bill if implemented will lead to gross violations of human rights, erosion of civil liberties and miscarriage of justice.

There is no doubt that the threat from terrorism is real. This is hardly a new situation, however. Are we really at a greater threat now than we were at the height of "the Troubles"?

Furthermore, this is the third piece of anti-terrorism legislation in five years. If the previous two are ineffective, why should this one be any different?

Again, I urge you to vote against the Bill and look forward to your
If you want further info on the bill, check out Statewatch.

Make a point of thoroughly proof-reading your letter. I forgot to do this and managed to send of a letter claiming that "this is the third piece of anti-terrorism legislation in three years." Which isn't true. It's the third in five years (the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-Terror, Crime and Security Act 2001 being the other two). Oops. The basic thrust of the argument is unaffected, however.

So... What are you waiting for?

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