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Draft Code of Practice for examining officers and review officers under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000

Posted by on 13/06/14 in Latest News, Slider | 0 comments

Draft Code of Practice for examining officers and review officers under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000

13.06.14 On 15.05.14 CAGE had submitted a response to the Home Office’s public consultation on its Draft Code of Practice for officers using Schedule 7 powers. This submission can be found here on Schedule7stories.com (http://schedule7stories.com/cage-suggests-changes-to-schedule-7-code-of-practice/) Subsequently, the Home Office have released their Draft Code Of Practice taking in to account submissions to the public consultation. CAGE would like to reiterate its view that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 should be repealed due to its discriminatory use against the muslim community to collect mass information and create a climate of fear. However, this was not within the scope of the consultation CAGE therefore recognises that some of our recommendations have been added to this version of the Code of Practice. The amended Code of Practice can be found here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-code-of-practice-for-examining-officers-and-review-officers-under-schedule-7-to-the-terrorism-act-2000). If you or someone you know has been stopped using Schedule 7 powers at UK ports contact CAGE in order to assist our data collection and continued campaign on the subject. Please email contact@cageuk.org or call +44 (0) 207 377 6700   ...

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UK ‘anti-terror’ law indiscriminate, says rights groups

Posted by on 06/06/14 in Latest News, Slider | 0 comments

UK ‘anti-terror’ law indiscriminate, says rights groups

06 June 2014 Government figures reveal that only about one percent of people questioned under powers that allow police to stop individuals at ports were detained in 2013. More than 46,000 people were stopped at Britain’s ports under Schedule 7 powers, which deem a refusal to answer police officers’ questions a criminal offence, according to figures published by the Home Office on Thursday. The same power was used to stop and detain journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for nine hours at Heathrow airport. The figures reveal that the stops only resulted in 1.19 percent of people being detained, and out of those only two people were convicted – or 0.0043 percent of those stopped. The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission expressed “grave concern about the ethnic makeup of those examined and detained,” adding: “It is clear that non-whites are disproportionately and unnecessarily targeted by officers with the power to stop and search under Schedule 7.” According to the figures, 55 percent of those stopped under schedule 7 were non-white, while they make up 14 percent of the population. However, out of those detained under the power, 82 percent were non-white. However, the number of individuals stopped under the power has dropped by 23 percent. ‘Indiscriminate power’ Their religious background is not currently recorded, but rights organizations have argued that Muslims are disproportionally targeted. Overall, there were 222 arrests for terrorism-related offences, which were down on the previous year. A total of 22 people, or 10 percent, were convicted of a terrorism offence. The Islamic Human Rights Commission said that the figures demonstrated “that the vast majority of those subject to arrest are not guilty of any charge. This figure has remained consistent over the years, and thus should be a clear indicator to the government that this is an indiscriminate power”. In April this year, British counter-terrorism officials appealed to Muslim women to persuade their relatives not to travel to Syria. UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged people to contact authorities if they knew of someone planning to travel to the war-torn state. The government has said that it fears people traveling to Syria may become “radicalized” and pose a risk to the UK. There have been several arrests this year relating to individuals traveling to or returning from Syria. Source World...

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Channel 4 Journo Jamal Osman: I am a British citizen – not a second-class citizen

Posted by on 26/05/14 in Latest News, Slider, Stories | 0 comments

Channel 4 Journo Jamal Osman: I am a British citizen – not a second-class citizen

26 May 2014 Coming through passport control is an ordeal, I am followed on the street and hassled by security services. Not all citizens enjoy the same rights. If you are British and think that every British citizen enjoys the same rights, my story and those of thousands of others should convince you otherwise. I arrived in Britain in 1999 having fled the civil war in my home country, Somalia. My asylum application was approved a year later. During that time I was given accommodation and a weekly food voucher worth £35. For this I will always be grateful. As soon as I was permitted to seek employment I started looking for a job. I worked in a laundry, a warehouse and as a taxi driver – simply to survive. Later I trained to become a journalist. I joined Channel 4 News as a reporter, largely covering Africa – a role that required frequent travelling. And that is when my nightmare at the hands of Britain’s security services began. I have been detained, questioned and harassed almost every time I have passed through Heathrow airport. In 10 years, only one of my colleagues has been stopped. During the past five years I have also been repeatedly approached by security services trying to “recruit” me. The incentives they offer range from a “handsome salary” or a “nice car” to a “big house”. I have even been told that they “could help me marry four wives”. I have declined all their offers. Their psychological tactics include telling me how easy it is for them to take away my British passport and destroy my career – and even my life. I have received regular phone calls from people I believe to be Special Branch, who invite me for a “chat over coffee”. “No thanks, I don’t drink coffee,” I reply. As someone who appears on television regularly it is not unusual for strangers to greet you in the street or even ask questions about a particular story you’ve done. But the people who follow me on the street – the spies (I call them “the Vauxhall guys”) – have a different approach. After introducing themselves by their first names they declare their interest. Would I like a chat and a coffee. It won’t take long. Their hunting ground is London’s Victoria station, which I use regularly. I go to the EU and British passport holders’ queue when returning through Heathrow airport; I observe with interest as fellow travellers file smoothly past border control. Yet when I approach, trouble always follows. “Where are you from?”, “How did you obtain a British passport?”, “Have you ever been in trouble with immigration?” I answer all their questions courteously and respectfully until the inevitable happens and the official says: “Take a seat, I will be back.” Returning from my most recent trip, I took my regular seat near the control desk. Half an hour later a grey-suited man sat next to me.”Hello, how are you?” he asked. “Are you from Somalia? I hear from other Somalis that things are improving now. That is what I would like to talk to you about.” I told him that I didn’t particularly want to talk about Somalia and that I just wanted to go home. “Don’t try and be difficult,” he snapped at me. “I’ll detain you if you don’t answer my questions.” And so it continued for another 15 minutes, during which he continued with his threats and with calling me an “idiot” and a “bad person”, claiming “you will die angry and the world would be a...

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CAGE suggests changes to Schedule 7 Code of Practice

Posted by on 15/05/14 in Latest News | 0 comments

CAGE suggests changes to Schedule 7 Code of Practice

Thursday 15 May 2014Written By: Naila Abdel-Khalek and Anna Sekular CAGE has made a submission as part of the public consultation on the Schedule 7 officers’ Code of Practice. Though the government’s move to offer more operational accountability can be seen as a step in the right direction, CAGE maintains that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act needs to be repealed due to its inability to secure UK borders and the discriminatory way in which it is used. 1) The reduction of the maximum period of examination from nine to six hours The maximum duration of questioning is six hours, this is a welcome change and is one that is clearly reflected in the Code. CAGE is of the opinion that the maximum period of examination can be considerably further reduced. The Code states the maximum period of examination, which is 6 hours. The form that is given to those being questioned, namely the “Notice of Detention under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000” at Annex A, sets out an individual’s rights and duties, however it does not state the maximum period of examination. Since this is a recent change to the legislation it cannot be expected that a lay person would know their rights in regards to the number of hours they are allowed to be detained and questioned for. CAGE asserts that this should be added to the form. The fact that examination and detention have now been differentiated is welcomed and helps towards understanding officers’ duties at each stage. However, in terms of questioning and what can be asked, the two periods remain similar. To that end, the rights afforded to the individuals should be the same in both scenarios. For example the right to legal representation and the right to have someone informed should be in both situations mandatory, not at the discretion of the officer. 2) The extension to individuals detained at a port of the statutory rights to have a person informed of their detention and to consult a solicitor privately The right to have legal representation is a fundamental right; it is therefore welcomed that such a right is enshrined in the legislation and reflected in the Code. This is ten years late in coming. The right to consult a solicitor is also detailed in the Notice of Detention which is an important way of informing those who are targeted under Schedule 7. The provision that an officer can proceed without the individual having an opportunity to consult his or her legal representative based on a premise that this may unduly delay examination is unreasonable. Accessing legal representation via electronic means can take a matter of minutes, and is a basic right an individual should be permitted to exercise. To limit someone’s right to legal advice and representation would be disproportionate and an abuse of power. CAGE takes issue with the fact that the right to a solicitor is only absolute when the individual is being detained. As per para 41 of the Code, consulting a solicitor while being examined is only granted at the officer’s discretion. The importance of legal advice when being questioned is imperative and the fact that this right can potentially be taken away by the very authority that does the questioning is unacceptable and should not be the case. This provision should be amended to be an absolute provision beyond the decision of any official. The right to have someone informed is an important right, one that is reflected in the Code in so far as detention is concerned. It is also clearly stated on the Notice of Detention. Given...

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