Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What About OUR Human Right Not to be Blown Up?

I suppose no one should be at all surprised that we now have human rights laws which allow proven Al Qaeda operatives to escape deportation. Apparently we can't send him back to Pakistan because ministers hadn't received adequate assurances from the Pakistani government about how they would be treated of they were sent back.

Er, and why exactly should we care about people who whose sole reason existence is to find ways of blowing us up? When it comes to human rights, perhaps we need to start caring about the human right of our fellow countrymen to avoid being blown up by Al Qaeda bombers, rather than the rights of the bombers themselves.

Home Secretary Theresa May calls the decision "disappointing". I'd call it bloody terrifying. These two people, who the judge deems a threat to our national security, are now being released onto the streets.

I helped elect a new government to pass laws to stop this sort of thing happening. I don't want to hear from ministers that it is "disappointing". I want to hear what they intend to do about it.


Christine H said...

Yes disappointingly feeble response from the new HS.

Grandpa said...

Time to reintroduce "Exile", there are still quite a few exotic spots on the globe where both he and we will be safe. Ascension Island, South Georgia etc. His family are free to join him and we will have no problem finding him a productive job counting penguins or some such. Alternatively he can buzz off back to Pakistan.

Jules said...

your first three paragraphs are right. the fourth is just another vital step to the wholesale rolling back of bad, choking and logic-defying legislation by what is an 82% Tory government.

it's a mettle test with the electorate. first of many. whether ministers pay attention or not.

Duncan Stott said...

If the UK deported these men knowing they could be subjected to torture, our government would be complicit in that torture.

You and I obviously have the human right not to be blown up. This judgement does not alter this.

You ought to be careful with phrases like "proven Al Qaeda operatives". If it can be proved they have committed a crime, and plotting an act of terrorism is a crime, then they should be put on trial. Secret court cases involving secret evidence doesn't make anything "proven" in my eyes.

These individuals have been convicted of nothing, and should be subject to the same standards of human rights as the rest of us. I want it to be my human right to not be subjected to torture. The same goes for them.

Martin Wellbourne said...

I suppose she could have deemed it "mildly irritating", which would have been even less reassuring. But only just.

Unspeakably lame. Really poor.

Allie said...

I don't think you understand what human rights are.

It is actually your human right that the government has to protect your right to life. i.e. has to protect you from being blown up!

If there is evidence that these people have commited a crime then charge them with it and put them in jail to protect us. Thats the way the law works and i would be very worried if it worked any other way.

Would you like the government to be able to be able to just decide to send people back to countries where they might be tortured?

Have a look at Liberty's explanation of Human Rights: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/human-rights-act/inside-the-human-rights-act.shtml

Catosays said...

Teresa May says she's not going to be appealing against this decision.


Jared said...

Wow Iain, great post. This is why the UK comes to you for political analysis.

HarveyR said...

"proven Al Qaeda operatives"


Where, when? Please tell.

The issue over inability to deport is being puffed-up to overshadow the bigger and more problematic one - that these people have only ever been suspected of being terrorists, never charged, let alone convicted.

And the hearing which determined their danger used evidence which they and we have no right to know and they have no ability to challenge.

Now if you or I were threatened with so much as a parking ticket on that basis, we'd be incensed. Imagine how you would feel if you were liable to be sent back to a home country which wants to treat you badly and the country you are in wants to put you under indefinite house arrest.

We should make intercept evidence admissible in trials *or* make it inadmissible in deportation hearings. To maintain the halfway house does not represent justice.

And yes, Iain, you do have a right to life. It's the first one on the list of the human rights which are supposedly so dangerous to have in UK law and you want to abolish.

George Laird said...

Dear Iain

There is nothing wrong with act, just the people applying it.


There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Like a car, if you put a clown behind the wheel they can do much damage.

Replace the people who are patently out of their depth.

Cameron needs to tackle Labour's shadow government in quangoland.

I have mentioned this repeatedly all over the web.

This puke should be deported.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Frugal Dougal said...

In the light of intelligence that Al Qaeda is planning a special for the London Olympics, I'd have hoped that deportation was an option - your question cuts to the heart ofthe issue.

Mark Taylor said...

[For context, I should mention that the following is a response solely to the terms of this blogpost, and not to the news to which it refers.]

"Why exactly should we care about people who whose sole reason existence is to find ways of blowing us up?"

There are two things wrong with the idea behind this. Firstly, there's the fact that human rights must necessarily be blind to who the person in question is: if you've decided deporting people to states where they'll be tortured is fundamentally wrong, then you don't get to make exceptions. If you break that principle, you don't support human rights - you support rights for people who behave.

The wonderful thing about human rights is that they declare that some kinds of behaviour are below us - that torture and murder are things we shouldn't engage in. To throw that away because we would actually quite like to see some people suffer inhuman treatment is to shatter the foundation of that principled stand against savagery.

Secondly, there is the idea that there are people "whose sole reason existence [sic] is to find ways of blowing us up". That's a disastrously childish characterisation of the problem of terrorism. Terrorists are people, uncomfortable as that fact may make us, and they are driven by human motivations. They don't try to blow us up just because. They have grievances, problems, questions, perhaps mental health issues amd complicated childhoods, heartfelt beliefs. None of that excuses mass murder, but it does mean that viewing them as unfeeling killing machines is pointless. It's a means to make these people into non-people, and that's the first step towards destroying human rights.

There's a clue in the name to why human rights are so important. "Human" isn't a uniformly positive label. We do a lot of awful, awful things in uniquely human ways. The point of human rights is to recognise that there are some levels below which we should not stoop, whatever the circumstances. You are of course welcome to say that terrorists do not have human rights - but only if you accept the natural conclusion that nobody else does, either.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

The key words here are 'terrorist SUSPECTS' ie they have not been convicted of any offence.

In addition neither they nor their solicitor was allowed to see the evidence against them and, as we've seen on so many occasions, so called 'intelligence' is often anything but and could well have been obtained by torture.

Unless we're prepared to put these people on trial we have no right to send them back to their probable deaths.

Twig said...

"I helped elect a new government to pass laws to stop this sort of thing happening. I don't want to hear from ministers that it is "disappointing". I want to hear what they intend to do about it."

Er, this is Theresa May you're talking about.

Colin said...

Perhaps we should take the same view with the aid money we sent to Pakistan , as we do with terrorists?

Maybe if we stopped sending this corrupt he'll hole with nuclear weapons our money, they'll promise not to pull out the finger nails of scum bag terrorists.

Patrick said...

Extradite them to the USA!! There is one country that does not mess about with these nutters.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

That's precisely the reason that "call me Dave" was so keen to jump into bed with "Clegg" on that now far off Friday morning:

-just so they DON'T have to do anything about it.

This next joke is for Dad's Army fans:
All they want to do all day is sit around discussing Aunt Lettice

Thorpe said...

Apparently, the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission felt that Pakistan had a "long and well-documented history of disappearances, illegal detention and of the torture and ill-treatment of those detained, usually to produce information, a confession or compliance.”

Well, blow me. Time for a change in the law, on a public interest basis. Forgive me if I put the rights of multiple British citizens not to be arbitrarily murdered, or grievously wounded to produce the effect of a whole load of Arab joy ahead of this chap's individual rights.

We put Government into power to change our lives. This law, in this circumstance, is simply wrong. If the Government, of whatever flavour, puts foreign nationals' interests ahead of the British people, it is doing the wrong thing. Change the law.

Internment without trial should remain an option. Don't treat them badly, don't deny visits. Just don't let them out onto the street to kill us.

BilloTheWisp said...

Oh come on Iain, you should know that the administration of justice in this country is totally divorced from real people and their concerns. If a some of the Proles get murdered because their self important Lordships want to display their liberal credentials, well, that is just too bad.

In this country people do not have human rights. Only Individuals have rights. Especially the odious and dangerous ones.

So, Theresa May is disappointed. I expect the lawyers are delighted.

In any other walk of life this sort of thing would be a scandal and heads would roll. But here we are dealing with the judicial elite. It does not matter how incompetent or wilfully negligent they are. The judicial super-class is above censure, especially when it comes from plebs like you or me.

Roger Thornhill said...

Sod "human rights"! You ask for the very same thing you are upset about.

Rule of Law us what we should be focusing

"Proven" dodgy? See you in court.

That's how it has to work, not on the whim of some politician.

If you aim to be an MP, Iain, you need to get the Rule of Law flowing through your veins, for you will be expected to make law where none exists.

trevorsden said...

He is not a 'proven' terrorist. OK we all know that he IS - even the judges said so. But he has not been to court. And the Home Office cannot do anything about it because a small thing like THE LAW says they can only appeal on a point of law and there is none.

So given that the govt are just in power and parliament has sat for the first time today - well there has been hardly any time to do anything.

But why extradite him? He committed an alleged offence in the UK - so why do we not try them?

Armchair said...

I am a paid up member of the hang 'em and flog 'em club.....However, I also spent many years at law school.

This judgement was made in accordance with our international treaty obligations. That being the case we are prevented from extraditing these two people.

Where I have a real problem is that one of these people has returned to the country which it is too dangerous to send him to of his own accord and is now domiciled there. The insanity of this judgement is that we can't stop him from coming back if he so desires......Now that is madness

Q said...

1. The rule of the law is not measured not by the popularity of its decisions; if it were, it would not be the rule of law but the rule of the mob. A gay man should be more aware than most of the need for decisions to be based on the principles of law and civil rights and not on the kneejerk response of the scared and the bigoted.

2. If these individuals were proved to be terrorists, the government would be able to prosecute them for their crimes. That no prosecution has been initiated gives the lie to any contention that they are "proven Al Qaeda operatives". The fact that you happen to be scared by these men does not mean that anything meaningful has been proved against them.

3. If you are genuinely scared by the prospect of a few Muslims wandering the streets, I strongly suggest you seek psychiatric help. On a daily basis I walk past and through the scenes of terrorist attacks and yet I can do so without wetting my pants in terror.

4. If this country is to pretend to have any kind of worthwhile system of justice, the criminal justice system must recognise and enforce the rights established and enshrined in the law. Since the law establishes that the United Kingdom will not send anyone to another country if they will face torture, the decision is right.

Stop being a coward, Mr. Dale. Control yourself and act as though you know what it means to be British.

Curmy said...

I'd have hoped for better from Tory Theresa May .

Calum said...

Come on, Iain, you are quite capable of thinking through this argument yourself. The whole point of a (human) right is that you don't have to earn it and you can't lose it. Anything else isn't justice, it's the Daily Mail.

"Er, and why exactly should we care about people who whose sole reason existence is to find ways of blowing us up?"

Because that is what makes us better people. No, it isn't always easy.

adamcollyer said...

Yeah, but deporting him would be "nasty" wouldn't it?

There's a fundamental issue here. Most of us would agree that Britain should offer political asylum to those who face persecution in their own countries, and have fled to Britain. I suspect however that most do not agree that this asylum is a right. It is a privilege, and those who abuse it should lose it.

PNaJ said...

To whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

DeeDee99 said...

Basically, WE don't count when it comes to a judgement based on human rights because we are a nation, not an individual.

The Human Rights Act only seems to apply to individuals who are facing a specific danger or threat, regardless whether that is the result of their own actions.

Cameron had pleged a British Bill of Rights to replace/amend the Human Rights Act so that more weight was placed on the public good ... but that is apparently one of the policies likely to be sacrified on the alter of Clegg.

The individual in question entered the country as a student. There's a good chance he broke the terms of his visa, so at the very least he should be prosecuted for that and banged up for a year or so if found guilty.

S.B.S said...

On top of letting them stay in the U.K. I bet we give them money in order to stay here!

If you ever think a government has any thought of your protection against terrorists?
Think again.
They (the governments) like them as it justifies more increase in government powers, to control its own people, just watch what the government do to tackle this, it will be increased police powers, crack down on our freedoms.

javelin said...

Your rights start when the blade touches your throat Iain.

Greg said...

"The rule of law is never negotiable. It is not a luxury item that can be put away in the cellar in times of emergency, to be brought out again when things get better. Neither government nor the citizen can be permitted to believe that fighting terrorism is more important than observing the rule
of law. Upholding the rule of law is a vital part of the fight against terrorism, for the real battle is one of ideology, not of arms."

Zak Golombeck said...

I don't need to say much more apart from the fact that I hope your Tory mates in Government have far more understanding and appreciation of quite clear human rights law than you do. Unfortunately, I fear Cameron and May do not.

Advice: start by reading the European Convention, then the Human Rights Act.

FF said...

Great post - except one small but crucial detail: proven terrorists.

As far as we know, these people aren't terrorists at all. Anonymous civil servants think they might do something at some point.

Peter said...

I can never work out why we should care what happens to someone deported from the UK.

David Lindsay said...

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have rightly always opposed control orders. They are unsafe. Terrorists should be convicted and imprisoned. A real one can easily remove a tag and vanish. Some controlees have already done so.

The provision for control orders has to be renewed by Parliament each year. Let it not be renewed this year. And let the provision itself then be repealed.

Dingdongalistic said...

Iain, this is more complicated than you make out.

The first fact is that it's a basic principle, at least in public, the State is opposed to torture, morally as well as legislatively. So unless you want to change these public principles politicans claim to be in support of, then it cannot be contested that deportation to torture is wrong.

The second fact is that in this case, nothing has been proved. So in other words, not only was the State attempting to deport someone to far worse punishment than the UK itself would impose, it was attempting to do so without proving guilt.

The third fact is that a judicial loophole, recently restricted somewhat, exists for cases that fall outside the net, IE complex ones like these where guilt is difficult to prove. It's called the control order system, which the government will probably use.

gerontius said...

Calum says:

"Come on, Iain, you are quite capable of thinking through this argument yourself. The whole point of a (human) right is that you don't have to earn it and you can't lose it. Anything else isn't justice, it's the Daily Mail.

"Er, and why exactly should we care about people who whose sole reason existence is to find ways of blowing us up?"

Because that is what makes us better people. No, it isn't always easy."

Calum, being a fool doesn't make you a better person,though it can make you a dead one.

Ronald said...

Is there a link between Pakistan being the sort of country that might be nasty to prisoners, has little enforcement of rights for non Muslims, and it being the place that terrorist who want to attack the christian west come from?

Lady Finchley said...

The Human Rights bores are out in force I can see. I feel utterly betrayed by my Party, who in Opposition pledged to do something about it this kind of thing. He is visitor from Pakistan, he is suspected of terrorist acitivities,he should be deported - end of. If Pakistan is such a dangerous place why did the other suspects go scurrying back?

Now I suppose we have to also pay for this piece of crap to live here too.

Blackacre said...

If they are terrorists, then they should be arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned. Otherwise, surely they are free to go - or are we not a "free country"?

kris said...

Not sure what (on earth) George Laird is talking about.

Art 8 is the right to respect for private and family life.

8(2) states there shall be no interference except for national security etc etc.

George should be looking at Art 3 which is an absolute right (freedom from torture)

Having said that, these torture cases are based on "expert" evidence that blokey is a risk of torture if he goes home.

There is no consideration given whether blokey CREATED the risk himself by his own criminal activities.

This is the issue for me.

Alan Price said...

I am extremely uncomfortable about punishing anybody who has not been convicted of a crime. Should not the proper course of action be to try these people and if they are found guilty send them back, regardless of their protestations?

In any event, people who have no regard for our human rights cannot expect us to have any regard for theirs.

Cynic said...

We criticised the Americans for creating Guantanamo partly for this reason.

There are two options:

1 dont let them in in the first place

2 derogate from HRA and create internment powers. ECHR allows this where there is a real and immediate threat to the state.

3 we have lots of remote islands in the UK itself that might make a good internment camp and make it easy to create human conditions but ones where those involved in terror can be isolated from others they might corrupt.

Cynic said...

"I feel utterly betrayed by my Party, who in Opposition pledged to do something about it this kind of thing"

Do give them a chance dear. Parliament has only just met again. They have only been in office 10 days

Goodwin said...

I don't think Ms May can be blamed for the current ridiculous legislation. The important question is what precisely she intends to do about it.

p smith said...

Iain, I commend your sentiments but are you really surprised by this? Did you really believe Cameron when he talked tough about the Human Rights Act and repatriating powers back from the EU?

We now know that during the coalition negotiations, the Libdems didn't even have to fight for these concessions. Cameron's team were positively offering them up on the basis that they now had an excuse to bin the right wing policies that they never really believed in.

I'm afraid this is the price of power. After 13 years of hurt you do not have a conservative government. You simply have two party leaders who seek to persuade us that the terms "liberal" and "conservative" mean the same thing.

I cannot wait for the next series of the Thick of It. Armando Ianucci doesn't even need to create a script.

James Higham said...

Completely agree. And where is Dave rolling this back? It will be interesting to watch.

Danny Law said...

expect more of this kind of responswe from teresa may -

a nice woman, but like jacqui smith - in a job where she is way out of her depth.

david davis would have made a much better home secretary

Weygand said...

Rights are not absolute, they are relative, eg my right to play loud music must be judged against your right to peace and quiet.

This man's right to be protected from the risk of torture must be judged against the right of the rest of the population to protect itself from the risk of attack.

The public may not have the information needed to make that judgment but he should not be treated as having the absolute right to stay come what may.

Lady Finchley said...

Cynic - it is clear from the Home Secretary's wimpy response that the Government intends to do nothing. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

RonLiddle said...

Boris was visited by Mayor Bloomberg, who recently toured London's extensive CCTV network. He was impressed, and plans something similar for New York.

They make people feel safer, help speed up solving crimes and prosecutions.

I'm not sure where Clegg is going with this?

Opinicus said...

I fundamentally disagree with Duncan Stott and the other legalists in the replies above.
Whilst innocent until proven must be correct for British citizens, these two are not British citizens. They have no human right to come to the UK nor to live here. EU citizens have a legal but not a human right to do so. Everyone else can only be here if we want them. That is the legal position.

Whilst legal proof is necessary to arrest and imprison them, we can afford to be far more choosy about whether we extend a welcome mat or not. If we even think they might be dangerous to Britain we are under absolutely no obligation to chance it. They should be deported as soon as we are unhappy with their presence. This is not a matter for trial and evidence. We are not happy for them to stay because we aren't happy, period. So off they should go.

If they would be tortured in Pakistan then they shouldn't have broken Pakistani law but its not a matter for us, you fascist imperialist. Pakistani has been a sovereign country that doesn't need to listen to your white middle class views on justice policy since 1948. Racist.
They could always be put on a channel ferry or pushed over the border in Armagh. It doesn't have to be Karachi. But if we think they don't love us we have no obligation to feed and house them and we don't need you to invent human rights issues because you've got religion.

norman said...

@Danny Law. Theresa May made her stand very well this morning in Radio 4 when Humphries interviewed her. There is nothing Tories can do as they are in coalition with the beardies-wierdies-the Libdems. As for David Davis, he had his chance and he blew it when he resigned and caused a by-election which Labour ignored and it became a non-event. David Davis is now snapping standing at the sideways, and unless he realises he needs to keep his mouth shut for a year or two, I do not see his future career in Cameron govt. Poor David Davis, straining at thge leash to get attention.

dazmando said...

We do not know that they are proven terrorist. that perhaps is one of the problems. if we had the proof then they could be held in jail.

They still say their innocent. So the question is why do we not have an agreement with one of our allies?

I know the Muslim conunity quite well and a fair number believe them to be innocent. doesnt mean they are of course as we all know its hard to prove someones a terrorist when you have no proof. no documents no weapons , no proof maybe survellence, who knows, we wont

ukipwebmaster said...

Will Dave keep another promise?


Jimmy said...

This new pro civil liberties conservatism didn't last long I see. Quelle surprise.

writermannkl said...

But hold your horses... our wonderful liberal judges have decided that to deport him would be against Article 3 of The European Convention of Human Rights Act. It doesn't matter about the human rights of the citizens of the UK. The sooner we get our own British Bill of Human Rights the better. (Where's your election pledge now Mr Cameron) This supine coalition, with the Home Secretary, Mrs Theresa May declaring that this verdict was 'disappointing'. Is that the best you can do Madam Home Secretary? So if British citizens are blown up and decapitated - and that includes the danger to the Queen in 2012 (Golden Jubilee Year), Mrs May of Maidenhead, would this also be 'disappointing'?

Surely if Pakistan is considered such a desperate place they should be asked to leave the Commonwealth.

A telling fact is that ten of the twelve suspects went back home voluntarily and obviously are still happily eating their curries and cracking their poppadoms - I mean, they had no fear of being tortured. Why don't we just ignore this terrifying Human Rights Act and state that in the interests of National Security they should be deported.

So... the coalition has not taken long to show its true colours - in fact the Coalition seems to be run by Clegg. So vote out Labour (jelly babies, slimy when chewed) and replace it with a coalition of soft and floppy marshmallows! Ta very much.

skynine said...

Could I suggest a simple alternative they might get round the problem.

If an individual is in breach of his visa he should be deported, no other reason needs to be given so the is no reason why the human rights defence would stand up.

It is only when an individual is accused of being involved in terrorist activity can the torture defence be used.

I used to live in the Middle East and if anyone upset the government they would be on the midnight flight back to their country of origin.