Muslims Welcome Law Lords Decision on Foreign Detainees

16 Dec 2004

The Muslim Council of Britain is delighted by the decision of the House of Lords Law Lords who today ruled that the indefinite detention of foreign terrorism suspects without trial in the UK breaks human rights laws.

`We accept that our government has an obligation to protect the lives of its citizens, but it also has an obligation to respect their liberties and freedoms. The cornerstone of our justice system is that it should be open and transparent. Neither these men nor their lawyers were even informed about the actual allegations against them. The fact that some of this evidence may have been obtained through torture at Guantanamo Bay beggars belief. If these men have done or were planning something as serious as we have been led to believe then they should be charged and brought to trial. If not, they should be released without delay and given medical attention. Some of them have already been detained for almost three years now without trial and we are deeply concerned about their health and mental state,’ said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Indeed, if there really is a public emergency threatening the life of our nation then it is strange that the current law only applies to foreign nationals and not to British nationals. It is clearly unfair and discriminatory as the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission and now the House of Lords have found.

No signatory of the Council of Europe – apart from the United Kingdom – has thought it necessary to derogate from Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

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Note for Editors:

1. The Muslim Council of Britain (www.mcb.org.uk) is the UK’s representative Muslim umbrella body with over 400 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.

For further information please contact: The Muslim Council of Britain, Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 1NT,
Tel: 07708 065 150 or 0208 432 0585/6, Fax: 0208 432 0587 Email: media@mcb.org.uk Website: http://www.mcb.org.uk