Thursday, December 08, 2005

Law Lords throw out torture-gained evidence.

Worrying that the undemocratic chamber is the one upholding the civil rights of British citizens while the democratic one tries to ramroad all the terrorism-related nonsense through, isn't it?

This afternoon the Law Lords (in effect the British Court of Final Appeal), who sit in the House of Lords, ruled that any evidence gained through use of torture cannot be used against terror suspects in the UK.
Which is a massive blow to Home Secretary Charles Clarke-who I cannot stand-and the Labour Government, who have been trying to force as many pieces of legislation that undermine the civil liberties of the British people through Parliament as possible.

It also means that the Home Office will have to review all evidence gained from other countries in relation to trials in Britain.
Conservative shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve said the judgement was "a completely correct restatement of a law that has existed for hundreds of years".
Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said it was a "landmark judgement", which would have implications for other cases coming before the courts".
He said it showed "an independent judiciary has once again been more effective in defending individual rights than this government".
Amnesty International said the "momentous" ruling overturned the "tacit belief that torture can be condoned under certain circumstances".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights pressure group Liberty, said: "This is an important message about what distinguishes us from dictators and terrorists.
"We will not legitimise evidence obtained by torture by using it in our justice system."

Now all I'm waiting on is for the US Supreme Court to say the same. And they've been drifting in that direction for a fair while now, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility.
A good day for human rights.


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