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Homeland Security

UK stop-and-search powers 'illegal,' says EU court

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 12, IRNA -- Powers given to police under Britain’s terrorism laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion are illegal, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday.

The Strasbourg court said that the emergency powers violated article eight of the European convention on human rights, regarding the right to privacy.

The case, which involved two people stopped outside a protest demonstration near a London arms fair in 2003, is seen as a blow to the government's policy on combating the threat of terrorism.

The powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 have already proved controversial in Britain for disproportionately targeting Muslims.

The excessive use of stopping tens of thousands has also been widely criticised for its very low success rate in leading to arrests and convictions.

The European Court awarded Kevin Gillan, a student from Sheffield, northern England, and Pennie Quinton, a freelance photojournalist, 33,850 euros (£30,400) to cover their legal costs.

It ruled that the stop and search powers were "not sufficiently circumscribed" and there were not "adequate legal safeguards against abuse".

It also concluded that "the risks of the discriminatory use of the powers" were "a very real consideration".

The decision overturns a 2003 High Court ruling in Britain, which was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords that the use of stop and search was proportionate under the European Convention on Human Rights and justified in the light of the threat of terrorism.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 893545



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