Reports of 'Coalition car crash' over control orders – will Government sell out over unsafe and unfair policy?
Control orders, the anti-terror policy dreamt up by officials in 2005, allow for terror suspects to be placed under house arrest forever without any semblance of criminal charge or trial.
Apart from being profoundly unfair and un-British (the term “control order” comes from apartheid South Africa), this scheme is profoundly unsafe. A number of its targets have disappeared, and one former “controlee” had a habit of turning up, complete with plastic tag, at large public meetings attended by members of the present and past Cabinets – Liberty’s 75th anniversary conference being one of those occasions.
Now we hear that the Coalition Government, so critical of the orders when in opposition may be considering retaining the discredited scheme. On this issue, the Observer chief political commentator, Andrew Rawnsley, wrote this Sunday that ‘if they cannot hold true to their pledges on such fundamentals as justice and human rights, it will be hard to resist the conclusion that they can’t be trusted with anything’.
The Counter-Terror Review, expected to report at the end of September, is said to have been pushed back to the end of the year. We hope against hope that the Coalition uses this as an opportunity to be truly tough on terror by leading a democratic consensus based upon rights, freedoms and the rule of law.
But if not, Liberty will be ready to lead the charge to ensure that this disgraced and illiberal policy is finally scrapped once and for all.