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THE CONTROL ORDERS SYSTEM

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Experts on Islamist extremism in U.K have called for the control order system to be strengthened following the revelation, in a report leaked to the press on 05/22/2010, about the number of suspects who have disappeared while under surveillance.

Among those who have gone on the run are three of the Fertilizer 04 Plot, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Bestun Salim, suspected of recruiting volunteers for jihad in Iraq and another Iraqi, suspected of plotting to set off car bombs in London (Londonstan ).

The findings come after last week’s ruling by the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission that Abid Nasser, accused of leading an Al Qaeda-backed terrorist cell in Manchester, cannot be deported to his native Pakistan because he risks being tortured. He is now expected to remain in the U.K under a control order.

Individuals placed on a control order are subjected to a home curfew and electronic tagging and are banned from travelling abroad, using the internet and mobile phones. There are also restrictions on who they can meet and where they can live and worship.

The new report by the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) think-tank, has established that of the 45 individuals subjected to control orders since the system was introduced in 2005, at least 26 (58%) were people who had entered the UK seeking asylum, while nine (20%) were known to be British citizens. At least seven (16%) of those subject to control orders absconded (see also – AP Curfew ).

The new UK Government promised in last week’s coalition agreement to “urgently review” the use of control orders, in response to criticism that they infringe human rights. Before the election, senior Lib Dems and Tories, who now man the new coalition, called control orders “inherently objectionable”, “illiberal” and “ill-conceived”.

Introduced under Labour, control order intended to provide a means of restricting the activity of suspected terrorists who can neither be prosecuted in court – either through lack of evidence, or because any trial would compromise security sources – nor deported, because they would face torture in their homeland (see – JUDICIAL TANGLE ).

However, the CSC report argues that, far from being scrapped or relaxed, the control order system needs to be maintained and strengthened in order to protect the British public.

“Rather than weakening the current national security structure, politicians should be strengthening the state’s ability to reduce the terrorist threat. Yet both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats have called for the potential abolition of control orders, which would have the opposite effect”  the report claimed.

Chris Huhne, the new Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary, said in September 2009: “Placing people under de facto house arrest without even telling them why is an affront to British justice and a threat to the freedom that people have fought and died for. Control orders should be scrapped before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted defending the indefensible.”

Dominic Grieve, the new Conservative Attorney General, described the orders as “unpleasant, repellent and disgusting” and inimical to British legal tradition when they were introduced. He said: “They are, at worst, a system of executive detention and, at best, a parallel system of justice based on secrecy.”

But Robin Simcox, research fellow at the CSC and author of the new report, said: “The threat from Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism remains high. Control orders help contain this national security threat. “Members of the government have called for the abolition of control orders. This is extremely naive. Not all terrorist threats can be dealt with in the preferred manner of convictions in British courts” he concluded.

 

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