Socialist Worker

Gordon Brown wants to reopen debate on detention without trial

Issue No. 2008

Chancellor Gordon Brown said last week that he wants to further extend the period that terrorism suspects can be held without charge.

Tony Blair experienced his first defeat in parliament in November last year when he tried to extend the limit to detention without charge from 14 to 90 days.

Instead MPs voted to extend detention without trial to 28 days. Now Brown has told journalists that he wants to reopen this discussion - possibly extending the maximum period up to 90 days.

John McManus helped to establish the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (Mojo) along with Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six.

McManus told Socialist Worker that he thinks that the chancellor’s statement has more to do with Brown trying to look tough than tackling terrorism.

“It is about instilling fear into people, not about effective intelligence,” he said. “We have seen this in the past with the way that Irish people were criminalised. It increases anger among the community.”

“The government are attacking our human rights. They want us to be held accountable for anything we do, from smoking in public to what religion we hold. They are never held to account for their failures.”

Brown is attempting to reopen a debate on longer detention after this was already defeated in parliament. McManus believes that this is indicative of the contempt for democracy shared by both Brown and Blair:

“When Blair went to war on Iraq he claimed it was to install democracy. Yet the government don’t listen to the public at all.”

He told Socialist Worker that, “Detaining people for 90 days without trial is a form of torture. It will lead to more miscarriages of justice. Innocent people will confess to anything that they think will get them out.”

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Sat 8 Jul 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2008
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