Background Briefing


Uphold the absolute prohibition on torture and prohibited ill-treatment

  • Cease using “diplomatic assurances” from countries with established records of torture and ill-treatment as means of removing foreign terrorism suspects at risk of such treatment on return, regardless of whether or not these unenforceable pledges are formalized in Memorandums of Understanding.
  • Discontinue the UK’s intervention in the Ramzy v. The Netherlands case before the European Court of Human Rights which is aimed at reversing past precedent and permitting courts to weigh national security against the risk an individual will be ill-treated upon return.
  • Protect the rights of individuals who may be at risk of being transferred to countries that torture by enacting legislation that creates a permission system for “rendition” flights carrying terrorism suspects through UK territory or airspace.
  • Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.
  • Multiply efforts to increase ratification and improve implementation of international instruments against torture, including the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

Demonstrate commitment to prosecution as a means of countering terrorism

  • Relax the ban on using intercept (phone tap) evidence in criminal trials.
  • Provide for automatic and periodic Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) review of cases where control orders have been imposed on persons suspected of terrorist activity. 

Ensure procedural safeguards for restrictions on liberty

  • Do not extend pre-charge detention beyond the current 28 day maximum;
  • Improve safeguards for the imposition of control orders.
  • Do not derogate from the right to liberty contained in article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights in order to institute “house arrest” control orders or otherwise to circumvent reasonable legal limits on the state’s power to detain individuals in a democratic society.

Protect freedom of expression

  • Repeal the offense of “encouragement of terrorism.”