Conor Gearty: This would mean internment by the back door

From a lecture by the director of the London School of Economics' Centre for the Study of Human Rights

Share

At the top end of the Government's proposed control orders scale will be "house arrest". But how do we police the restrictions? Are there any exceptions for illness, family bereavement? Such problems of authoritarian law enforcement have already arisen in the context of the bail conditions imposed in the one case that obtained this kind of release under the old regime.

At the top end of the Government's proposed control orders scale will be "house arrest". But how do we police the restrictions? Are there any exceptions for illness, family bereavement? Such problems of authoritarian law enforcement have already arisen in the context of the bail conditions imposed in the one case that obtained this kind of release under the old regime.

And there is the frightening prospect of an arrest and detention in what the Home Secretary calls "accommodation owned and managed by the Government" which it seems would need to be described by other than the traditional word for such a place, a prison. This looks like internment by the back door.

The alternative that dare not speak its name is... simple: charge or release.

What would make prosecutions easier would be a relaxation of the absolute prohibition on the use of intercept evidence in court, a reform now supported by a huge range of informed opinion in this country.

In an otherwise confident series of parliamentary performances on terrorism law, the Home Secretary seems invariably to descend into a kind of gibberish when forced to explain why exactly such material may never ever be used to secure the prosecution of all these dangerous terrorists he goes on about.

Not being quite on top of the technological issues seems not exactly an overwhelming argument against, apart from being embarrassing given that practically everywhere else now permits its use in court.

The issue is an important one because it flushes out who is genuinely committed to making the criminal process work, and who would prefer to operate entirely in the shadows. It is extraordinarily disappointing that the new Home Secretary has decided to side with the forces of extra-legality.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The old 1,000 Greek drachma notes and current 20 euros  

Greece debt crisis: History shows 'new drachma' is nothing to fear

Ben Chu
David Cameron leaves Number 10 to speak at Parliament  

Tunisia attack: To prevent more bloodshed we must accept that containment has not worked

Patrick Cockburn
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue