UK Liberty

Three control order subjects have absconded and Reid calls for more power

Posted in control orders, law and order, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on May 24, 2007

The BBC:

The home secretary was facing MPs in Parliament after three men suspected of wanting to kill UK troops disappeared.

See Hansard – Today in the Commons.

See TheyWorkForYou.

Mr Reid blamed political opponents and judges for stopping the use of tougher measures against terror suspects,

Perhaps he means, he was stopped from locking people up without trial. (But see Dominic Grieve’s comments in Hansard).

and promised new measures within weeks. …

But he added: “Under our existing law, control orders are as far as we can go.

“Unfortunately under these limitations, within the existing legal framework, it is very difficult to prevent determined individuals from absconding.”

But how hard is it for the UK to keep an eye on 17 people?

He added that, if the government failed to overturn previous court judgements on control orders, they would “consider other options – including derogation”.

– from the European Convention of Human Rights.

It is my understanding that no other European country has derogated. Why are we special?

Six people have absconded since control orders were introduced in March 2005.

This time, in an unusual step, police have released the names and pictures of the latest three.

Now, I don’t understand why this is so unusual. It certainly wouldn’t breach their human rights, if I understand correctly. It seems to me that this would be considered to be proportionate.

Not to have the public know who these people are under normal conditions – just when they abscond.

They say Lamine Adam, 26, his brother Ibrahim, 20, and Cerie Bullivant, 24, have been missing for more than 24 hours and may be together.

They had been required to surrender travel documents and report daily to a police station – two also had to call a monitoring company each night.

If that’s the extent of the conditions, no wonder they got away so easily. I won’t assume the BBC is telling the full story, but those are the only conditions the Home Secretary mentioned.

Don’t worry:

The government says the men do not represent a direct threat in the UK, but they were subject to orders because they were suspected of wanting to travel abroad “for terrorism-related purposes”.

In another BBC article,

Downing Street has claimed it will not play the blame game, but the prime minister’s official spokesman declared: “We warned that this could be where we ended up and it’s therefore not a surprise that this is where we have ended up.”

i.e. immediately contradicting the statement about not playing the blame game.


the home secretary has pointed his finger at the courts and the opposition parties for denying him the tougher laws he had wanted to deal with terror-related suspects.

i.e. he played the blame game!

From Lord Carlile’s interview with the BBC (transcribed by me):

…as a result of understandably strict control by the courts, a light touch has been placed on this group of men, but it hasn’t proved adequate. So a choice is now going to have to be made and it’s a stark choice: either we don’t have control orders on people who simply want to go and join the insurgeny and kill British and other Allied soldiers, which many will find unacceptable; or we have to have stricter control orders, and the courts must then accept that that strictness is required as a result of what’s happened in the case of these three men and one other.

I’d like to know what he means by ‘strict’.

If he means, let’s keep a proper eye on such people rather than merely requiring them to pop along to the police station or phone a monitoring company at night (I hope we aren’t using Group 4 Securicor!), I’m in favour of it.

John Reid is obviously no student of history – or is he using hyperbole here:

when the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) cast doubt on the fact that the threat to the life and liberties of the people of this country is higher than every [sic] before, and is at the level of a national emergency —[Interruption.]

Was that someone coughing, “Second World War“, perhaps?

Did he lie inadvertantly mislead the Commons when he said,

When I arrived at the Home Office, I found myself questioning how a control order could be placed on a suspected terrorist for only 18 hours [a day], because that left six hours in which that suspect was free to go about his work. I was overruled by the courts, and told that the problem was that under our existing legal conventions, 18 hours was too long. As a result, I had to reduce the period to 14 hours.

Because in fact the courts found that keeping someone detained in their residence for 18 hours was unlawful, not the period of time they were subject to the control order itself.

Notice that Reid doesn’t answer Jeremy Browne’s (speaking for Nick Clegg) reasonable question:

Will he respond to concerns that the limited application of control orders is a result of restricted police resources rather than the product of any legal considerations?

He just rambles on a bit. Which means, no I won’t respond to those concerns. And I infer, yes police resources are restricted.

Oh look, Reid blames the Conservatives for the Chahal judgement again:

The Chahal judgment took place under the Conservative Government.

Strange how the Conservatives had such an influence on a panel of 17 European judges!

Oh here we go, the public will be upset if we don’t lock up people without trial and a plane falls out of the sky:

Secondly, I say to the whole House that if we ever reach the stage of mass destruction—if a plane, or two planes, come down over the Atlantic, or something horrendous like that happens—the people of this country will not ask us why we introduced measures to strengthen the fight against terrorism; they will demand to know why, given all the signals and signs and indications that this was coming, the House did not act immediately and unanimously, with consensus, to strengthen all our laws against terrorism. That is the question that will be asked of us.

Unfortunately that’s what the public does. Politicians of course have to be brave enough to answer, “well you can live under the threat of detention without trial, and still have a risk of something horrendous happening, or you can support our traditional liberties, and accept pretty much the same risk of something horrendous happening – we think the latter is the right course to take”.


The arbitrary imposition of one’s will on another by destructive power is fascism, whether it emanates from Europe or any other area.

In the same vein, perhaps the arbitrary imposition of one’s will on another by state power is an outcome of socialism?

He is considering derogating from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Let’s have a look at what that says:

Article 5 – Right to liberty and security

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

1. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;

2. the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;

3. the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
4. the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;
5. the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;
6. the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.
3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1.c of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful. [in other words, the right to petition for the writ of habeas corpus]
5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Is that something we really want to get rid of, do you think?

What is it with these ‘ex-‘ Communists (Charles Clarke included) who subsequently become Labour Home Secretaries?

Oh wait, the clue is in my question.


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