December 18, 2004

Try or Release Belmarsh Inmates

Hands on the wall, bend over, get shaftedIt's official - the detention of 12 inmates at Belmarsh Prison under anti-terrorism legislation without charge, trial or imminent release is a fundamental breach of human rights. That was the judgment of the Law Lords this week and for once they were right. It is critical that somebody, anybody, stands up to the most illiberal, most authoritarian British government since the Dark Ages. The politicisation of arrest and detention is what the government wants but it leads to only one thing - fascism. Too strong a word? Not if you consider that pretty much anybody can be stopped and searched, arrested and then held under anti-terrorism legislation without due cause.

The government argues that breaching a small number of people's human rights is justified as it saves the lives of many others. Really? Where's the evidence and why should we believe them? If there is not enough evidence to prosecute the 12 they should and could be released - MI5 are going to follow, monitor, bug and harass the 12 for the rest of their lives anyway. There's another word for the government's actions - racist. These laws apply only to non-British nationals. Why? Because this government values the lives and human rights of non-British nationals less than they do the indigenous population. The government claims its about security yet we are not at war and there is no imminent threat - certainly no more so than when the IRA were blowing up buildings in London. Internment and the violation of personal freedoms is only justified under the most extreme circumstances and life in Britain today is far from that.