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Homeland Security

Blunkett seeks to extend internment without trial

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 21, IRNA -- Home Secretary David Blunkett has served 
notice that the British government is seeking to continue its 
emergency powers of detention without trial for a further year under 
the country`s Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. 
The detention powers are a `cornerstone of the UK`s anti-terrorism
measures`, Blunkett told MPs in a statement issued on Tuesday. 
"It is essential that we are able to take firm, swift action 
against those who threaten the safety of this country," he said. 
The emergency measure, directed at foreign nationals who the UK is
unable to deport, has been criticized by civil rights groups because 
Britain`s need to derogate from the European human rights charter on 
the rights to a fair trial. 
Some human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have 
accused the home secretary of creating Britain`s own `Guantanamo Bay 
Blunkett said that he was looking forward to a `full and vigorous 
debate` on the annually-required extension when it is presented to 
parliament in March. 
A parliament committee, set up to review the emergency 
legislation, called on the British government to revoke the indefinite
detention of foreign nationals without charge or trial last December. 
It suggested that the measures should be replaced with something 
that `does not require the UK to derogate from the right to liberty 
under the European Convention on Human Rights`, adding that other 
countries had not found any reason to do so. 
The home secretary said he would be `looking carefully at the 
conclusions and recommendations of the report` and will be reporting 
on its findings when parliament debates the renewal powers. But he 
insisted the powers remained `necessary and proportionate`. 
To date, 16 foreigners, who are all believed to be Muslim, have 
been interned under the emergency law. This includes two, who have 
chosen to leave the UK voluntarily as they are allowed by the 

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