Eagle Eye (indyeagleeye) wrote,
Eagle Eye

Ben Chu: Shami's not shameless

I saw the debate on Newsnight between Shami Chakrabarti and Lord Carlile yet came away with a different interpretation from my colleague John Rentoul.

Chakrabarti's essential argument was that if there is insufficient evidence to charge these two individuals they should be set free. Is that such a "shameless" position? I thought it was the basis of the British criminal law, whereby a person is considered innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial.

She also argued that if the police and the intelligence services still consider these individuals to pose a potential threat, they should be closely monitored. Again, is that a "shameless" position? If so, it's a shamelessness in which the police already acquiesce when it comes to non-terror cases. Sometimes the police suspect people of being involved in criminal conspiracies, yet they lack the evidence to charge them. What do they do? They put them under surveillance and attempt to gather that evidence with a view to eventual prosecution.

According to John, surveillance for foreign terror suspects would be either prohibitively expensive, intensely intrusive or ineffective. Yet what is the alternative? Should they be imprisoned indefinitely on the say so of the police, the intelligence services and Lord Carlile? Should they be put under the quasi house arrest of control orders? Should they be deported to face possible torture from the security forces in their home countries? All those options look pretty shameless to me.

Tags: civil liberties, lord carlile, shami chakrabarti
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

Shami Chakrabarti said that suspects considered to pose a threat should be closely monitored. They are. The system is called control orders. I am not the one who needs to suggest an alternative. It is the opponents of control orders who are under an obligation to say what they would put in their place.
The opponents of control orders say control orders should be replaced with police and intelligence service surveillance - the same surveillance which is used to monitor the activities of all those other suspected terror cells in the country.