DCSIMG

Lawyer’s warning over UK ‘secret courts’

  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

BRITAIN’S moral standing in the world is at risk unless major changes are made to a controversial piece of legislation that will see a rise in secret court hearings, a joint report from a senior Tory and a human rights barrister warns.

BRITAIN’S moral standing in the world is at risk unless major changes are made to a controversial piece of legislation that will see a rise in secret court hearings, a joint report from a senior Tory and a human rights barrister warns.

The Justice and Security Bill, which goes to committee stage in the House of Commons tomorrow, outlines plans to allow court doors to close and evidence to be heard in secret on grounds of national security.

But in a scathing report for the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie and Anthony Peto, QC, said the bill would make it more difficult to establish the truth about Britain’s complicity in kidnap and torture.

Urging the government to alter the legislation, the report said “ministers still have the scope to enhance, rather than diminish, Britain’s moral standing”. It goes on: “That Britain allowed itself to be dragged into complicity in ‘extraordinary rendition’ – the kidnap and torture of individuals as a matter of policy – is a disgrace.

“That, nearly a decade later, the extent and limits of Britain’s involvement are still unknown is almost as shocking.

“Far from bolstering that confidence, the Justice and ­Security Bill would weaken it. The ­proposals would make it more difficult to establish the truth.”

 
 
 

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