Socialist Worker

Bugging lawyers can only impede justice

Issue No. 2088

The bugging scandal that has erupted over the last couple of weeks has cast a harsh light on the concept of 'British justice'.

The revelation that the police had bugged Barbar Ahmad, who is fighting extradition to the US on trumped up terror charges, led to reports that 'hundreds' of lawyers had been bugged when visiting clients in prisons, and that there was 'widespread' bugging in Britain.

The implications for those seeking justice are devastating. Jim Nichol is a leading human rights lawyer in London. He told Socialist Worker, 'Lawyers have to go into police stations and deal with vulnerable clients in an intimidating environment. This will mean that clients will be scared to talk to their lawyers.

'If people are afraid to speak openly to their lawyer, how can they have a fair trial?'

Bugging is just the latest example of a crackdown on our civil liberties which is upheld in the name of 'fighting terrorism'.

'The government is making bugging acceptable, and we have to ask what this means for ordinary people,' says Jim. 'You can see a situation where employers use bugging to spy on their employees for example.

'The idea that lawyers can be bugged is one of the most draconian aspects of the government's 'war on terror'.'

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Tue 12 Feb 2008, 19:06 GMT
Issue No. 2088
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