In Brief

Terror suspects to face ‘indefinite controls’ under new UK laws

Rights groups criticise government plan to put indefinite curbs on alleged offenders’ movements

Restrictions on the movements of non-convicted terror suspects may be extended indefinitely under new government legislation.

The Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill would lower the standard of proof needed to impose Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) and remove the current two-year cap on their use.

The “controversial and resource-heavy measures” are usually imposed based on secret intelligence and are aimed at “controlling the risk presented by terrorism suspects at large” when criminal prosecution or deportation are not options, says The Guardian. 

Under the new proposals, suspects will also be forced to register all electronic devices in their households, “not just their own, and could be subject to lie detection and drug tests”, adds the BBC.

The expansion of the orders is part of the government’s response to two terrorist attacks in London in the past 12 months, according to Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Presenting the Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, she said: “The shocking attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham revealed serious flaws in the way terrorist offenders are dealt with. “We promised to act and today we are delivering on that promise…we will do whatever it takes to stop them.”

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But campaigners including Amnesty International have warned that TPIMs already allow authorities to restrict suspects’ freedoms without criminal trials, on grounds below the usual threshold for prosecution.

“The suggestion that existing TPIMs measures are to be made even more draconian would be a serious setback for the proper administration of justice in this country,” said Amnesty legal expert Rachel Logan.

Those concerns were echoed by Rosalind Comyn of human rights group Liberty, who told Sky News that the new legislation “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,” she said. “A fundamental principle of justice - the presumption of innocence - hangs in the balance.”

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