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DateLine Thursday, 12 June 2008

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UN expert urges Britain to re-examine counter-terrorism bill

UN: A United Nations human rights expert Tuesday urged Britain to withdraw or postpone action on a bill that would lower key standards regarding detention in the context of fighting terrorism.

The bill, scheduled to be voted Wednesday in the House of Commons, could set a negative precedent for upholding human rights as it contains a key provision to extend pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects to 42 days, said Martin Scheinin, the UN's Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, in a statement.

He expressed concern that this counter-terrorism bill, if adopted, "could prompt other states to copy the provision into their own counter-terrorism legislation, without reflecting on the importance of effective judicial review."

"I appeal to the UK government to withdraw the bill or to postpone taking a definitive decision on it," said Scheinin, who reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

Geneva, Wednesday, Xinhua

 

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