Thursday, November 15, 2007

Comparative Study: How Long Can Terrorist Suspects Be Held Without Charge?

The UK civil liberties group Liberty has published a survey of the number of days terrorist suspects can be held without being charged in court in 15 countries, including Canada.

The document is entitled Charge or release: terrorism pre-charge detention comparative law study and finds that the British practice exceeds that of other democratic nations.

"None of the other countries surveyed have found lengthy pre-charge detention necessary in order to deal with the threats and challenges from international terrorism. Indeed, none allows their police to hold suspects for anywhere near the 28 days currently permitted in the UK. Despite being a major terrorist target the United States, for example, allows only two days’ pre-charge detention. Spain, another recent target of terrorist attacks, only allows its police to detain suspects for five days before the equivalent of charge. These significantly shorter pre-charge detention periods have not prevented the successful charge and conviction of terrorists as the recent conviction of 21 individuals, involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, illustrates".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:45 pm

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