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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Surrender Our Rights in the Name of Anti-terrorism


There's a nice bit of balance in the Director of Public Prosecution's lecture Coming out of the Shadows:

"... we have been absolutely right to resist, whenever they have been suggested, special courts, vetted judges and all the other paraphernalia of paranoia. Of course, you can have the Guantanamo model. You can have the model which says that we cannot afford to give people their rights, that rights are too expensive because of the nature of the threats we are facing. Or you can say, as I prefer to, that our rights are priceless. That the best way to face down those threats is to strengthen our institutions rather than to degrade them. It is difficult to see who will maintain a cool head if governments do not. Or who will protect our Constitution if governments unwittingly disarm it. The response to terror is, of course, multi-layered. It has to be that way. In some contexts it is dealt with geopolitically, by engaging relations between sovereign states. In others it is disrupted by intelligence and by other interventions. In still others the response must plainly be military. But on the streets of our country, violent law breaking is dealt with as crime. It is taken through the courts as crime. It is confronted with in accordance with our Constitution. In all the debates that have raged back and forth, Britain has been absolutely right to hold fast to this course. We would do well not to insult ourselves and all of our institutions and our processes of law in the face of these medieval delusions. As I say, the response to terror is multi-layered. But it should not include surrender."
Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions

Posted by Phil at 12:13 PM
Edited on: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 12:16 PM
Categories: Comment