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Issue No. 1930

Demanding justice for Babar

AROUND 200 protesters gathered outside Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes last Sunday for a demonstration and rally in support of Babar Ahmad.

Babar, who is being held in Woodhill, is being threatened with extradition to face US-style “justice”. The Red Cross recently described US interrogation methods in Guantanamo Bay as “tantamount to torture”.

Many speakers at the demonstration connected the illegal occupation of Iraq to Babar’s unjust detention.

The protest was organised by Milton Keynes Stop the War Coalition together with the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities and Stop Political Terror.

Several passing motorists hooted in support of the demonstration. A small far right group attempted a counter- demonstration, but slunk away to jeers and slow handclaps from the crowd.

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Facing up to the identity crisis

THE government’s compulsory identity card scheme will be enforced using draconian penalties for non-cooperation.

People will be fined £2,500 if they refuse to register for an ID card and fined £1,000 if they move home without informing the government.

The fines were outlined by home secretary David Blunkett this week as he unveiled legislation to bring in ID cards and a National Identity Register.

Anti-ID campaigners say Blunkett is hoping to rush through the legislation in the face of mounting public opposition to his plans.

“They’re trying to get this through as fast as possible. They’re desperate to do this before people become aware of the details of the legislation,” says Phil Booth from campaign group NO2ID.

The government claims 80 percent of the public support its ID card proposals, citing an opinion poll commissioned by an IT consultancy firm in April of this year.

But that figure is “entirely spurious”, says Phil Booth—the same poll found that 67 percent of the public had “little or no knowledge” of the government’s ID card plans.

And public consultation on the draft bill resulted in 48 percent of responses against the proposals and only 31 percent in favour. “As people actually find out what ID cards mean they say, ‘Hang on, no way!’” says Phil.

He adds that the bill’s main backers are “areas of industry that stand to make a significant amount of money out of this”.

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Article information

Sat 4 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1930
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