- By Haroon Al-Said
Jail without trial for the UK
UK Politics | The security services in the UK government are pushing hard to scrap the need for a trial to convict people suspected or accused of crimes.
The BBC reported that the government is having a “serious discussion” over the reintroduction of internment, which is when people are imprisoned without trial.
Currently used for people on remand before trial, often spending years in jail before being a quitted, full internment will allow for unlimited jail time without ever having the hope of a trail.
It is often associated with wartime situations, or when foreign nationals or people with strong political stances are detained.
When has it been used in the past?
The most famous use of it in the UK was during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The British Army began Operation Demetrius in 1971, which involved the mass arrest and internment of 342 people suspected of carrying out tasks for the IRA.
The government-approved policy was in place until 1975, during which time 1’981 people were interned.
Internment was also used during both World War One and Two where the UK set up internment camps to detain civilians with sympathies to the enemy cause.
For the first two years of the Second World War, around 8’000 people deemed enemy aliens were temporarily interned in British camps before being deported to the colonies.
A more modern example of an internment camp is Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, used by the US. The UK uses both Guantanamo and their very own concentration camps in Afghanistan and Egypt.
How could it work?
Ghaffur from the British Security and Intelligence Services proposed setting up specialist centres to initially detain 3’000 British citizens on his list of people they wish to removed but have no evidence of criminal activity. This number is then to be increased by a further 23’000.
He said they would be community-based centres where the internees would be “risk-assessed and theologically examined”.
Once this step was taken, they would then be made to go through a psychological manipulation pogramme.
Those who could be made to comply with the government’s desires should then be “carefully allowed back into the community,” said Mr Ghaffur, but those “deemed too dangerous should be locked up indefinitely “.
He said the centres would need to have oversight and would target specifically British Muslims.
What is wrong with the proposal?
Some people backed Mr Ghaffur’s stance, including a former head of the government’s emergency council Cobra, Colonel Richard Kemp, who said the UK’s police and intelligence services simply could not monitor everyone they needed to.
But there is fierce opposition to his plan as well, with figures such as ex-Scotland Yard chief Lord Blair rejecting the idea as counter-productive.
Martha Spurrier, director of rights group Liberty, said: “We’re a civilised country. We believe in the rule of law – suspects knowing the case against them, standing trial and, if found guilty, being sent to prison by a judge. This is the foundation of our free, democratic society. Countering the scourge will clearly be a priority for the next government but they can and must do so while protecting our values more vigorously than ever.”
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