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Rights groups argue against extending UK pre-charge terror detentions

[JURIST] Human rights groups Amnesty International and JUSTICE [advocacy websites] Monday argued against the UK government's proposal to extend the pre-charge detention period of suspected terrorists from 28 days to 56 days, saying separately that the extended detention is neither merited by the circumstances nor in keeping with the principals of liberal democracy. Amnesty issued "Ten good reasons why extending pre-charge detention is a bad idea" [press release], saying that extended pre-charge detention:

undermines one of our most basic rights, enshrined in UK law as far back as Magna Carta and now at the heart of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which UK is a signatory: the right for anyone who is detained by the state to be told promptly why they are being held and what they are charged with.
JUSTICE released a report [PDF text] finding that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has consistently been able to charge suspected terrorists within 48 hours of detention, and questioned whether UK authorities required more than 28 days [press release, PDF] to investigate and charge terrorism suspects.

Last Friday, former UK Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf criticized the proposal [JURIST report], joining criticism put forth by other current and former top legal officials earlier in the week. On Wednesday, UK Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald [official profile] and former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith criticized the plan as unnecessary. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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