Terrorism offences

Liberty: Counter-Terror Bill is a threat to civil liberties

Posted on 20 May 2020

Liberty, the human rights organisation, has criticised the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill as a threat to civil liberties and the justice system.

The Bill, which will be introduced into Parliament on Wednesday 20 May, authorises people being locked up indefinitely, and expands Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) in a way which reintroduces Control Orders in all but name.

Liberty has also criticised the Government for not reviewing its failing counter-terror strategy.

Rosalind Comyn, Liberty policy and campaigns officer, said: “The Government’s counter-terror strategy is failing, yet instead of reviewing the errors the Government is rolling out a Bill that threatens all of our civil liberties.

“This legislation not only authorises people being locked up indefinitely, it also poses a threat to fundamental pillars of our justice system. By reintroducing, in all but name, the widely condemned Control Orders a fundamental principle of justice – the presumption of innocence – hangs in the balance.

“Control Orders allow people to be placed on indefinite house arrest without trial and this can happen based on suspicion rather than charges, evidence and proof. Control Orders were abolished by the Coalition Government as a stain on our human rights records and that’s where they should remain.

“This Bill also threatens our safety. Without an evidence-based approach the Government is failing to address the root causes of these incidents and therefore failing to stop them.

“The fact this Bill is being issued during a pandemic, when Parliament is not operating at full capacity or able to deliver normal levels of scrutiny, should be a cause of concern for all who care about the future of our democracy and justice.”

I'm looking for advice on this

Did you know Liberty offers free human rights legal advice?

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

Did you find this content useful?

Help us make our content even better by letting us know whether you found this page useful or not

Need advice or information?