Blair to make deportation of those who incite terror easier

TONY BLAIR said today he was ready to amend the Human Rights Act as he announced new moves to make the deportation of people involved in inciting terrorism more straightforward.

Setting out a range of new grounds for deporting people from the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister said: "Let no-one be in any doubt that the rules of the games are changing."

Fostering hatred, advocating violence to further a person's beliefs or justifying or validating such violence would all be grounds for banning someone from entering the country or deporting them under the Government's proposals.

Mr Blair said the Government was prepared to amend the Human Rights Act in respect of interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights if legal obstacles arise.

New anti-terror legislation will also be brought forward in the autumn, including an offence of condoning or glorifying terrorism which would apply anywhere, not just in the UK.

Muslim organisations Hizb ut Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun are also to be proscribed, or banned, as part of the crackdown.

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary can proscribe any organisation which he believes is "concerned in terrorism".

The process means that membership of the groups becomes an offence, as does fund-raising for them.

Mr Blair said a list would also be drawn up of extremist websites, bookshops and centres, involvement with which would prompt the Home Secretary to consider the deportation of any foreign national.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that while the British public had responded with tolerance to the terror attacks on London, that tolerance was in danger of being stretched.

"I am acutely aware that alongside those feelings that there is also a determination that this very tolerance and determination should not be abused by a small fanatical minority and anger that it has," he said.

"The circumstances of our national security have now self-evidently changed and we believe we can get the necessary assurances from the countries to which we will return the deportees against their being subject to torture or ill-treatment," he added.

The Government today launched a short one-month consultation on its proposals which would not automatically need new legislation to be incorporated into UK law.

The Prime Minister said a "handpicked" unit of senior officials, headed by the Government's Intelligence and Security Co-ordinator Bill Jeffrey, would be appointed to drive forward the agenda, along with the Cabinet's counter-terrorism committee which Mr Blair chairs.

The Government will also consult on legislating specifically for an appeal process which does not stall the deportation procedure.

Imran Waheed, a spokesman for Hizb ut Tahrir Britain, said Mr Blair's comments were "most unjust" and the group would fight any ban through the courts.

He said: "Hizb ut Tahrir is a non-violent political party. It has had a history of non-violence for the last 50 years and these measures are like what we have seen in Uzbekistan where President Karimov has been burning his political opponents alive."

The Government's plans to crack down on extremists were announced as two women appeared before Bow Street magistrates to face anti-terror charges in the wake of the failed London suicide bombings.

Sisters Yeshshiembet Girma, 29, of Blair House, Stockwell Gardens, Stockwell, London and Muluemebet Girma, 21, of Corfe House, Dorset Rd, also Stockwell, were accused of failing to disclose information.

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