Oct 15, 2008

The lords they are a-leaping

"Peers crushed the government's scheme to lock up terror suspects for 42 days, rejecting it by a margin of 191 votes.... Almost everyone involved in fighting terror eventually resisted the proposal: prosecutors, intelligence chiefs, lawyers - and even some senior police officers. Many such professionals are in the Lords, and yesterday they made themselves heard.

Evidence, or rather the abject lack of it, was the complaint rattling through the Lords debate. The authorities have not yet dealt with a single case where the current limit of 28 days has proved inadequate. Peers refused to surrender real liberties to a hypothetical threat. The barrister Lord Lester explained the peculiar nastiness of detaining suspects in advance of charge - a point where they have few protections, and lack knowledge of the case against them. Churchill called internment "odious", even in the blackest hour of wartime. Today's threat is real, but hardly compares with the blitz." — The Gaurdian

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