Detention powers 'should be in hands of judges'
UK Daily Mail | July 16, 2007
Politicians should give up their power to set the maximum detention period for terror suspects, handing it over to senior judges, the independent reviewer of counterterrorism legislation has said.
Lord Carlile?s proposal comes amid debate over whether the limit on detention without charge should rise from 28 days to up to 90 days.
The head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ken Jones, said that police wanted power to hold suspects for longer because of the global scale of terror investigations and the need for early arrests to prevent potential atrocities.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has indicated he wants to reopen the issue in autumn, though he is yet to commit to a specific period before charge.
Tony Blair suffered his first Commons defeat as prime minister in 2005 when MPs rejected his plea for 90-day detention in favour of 28.
Lord Carlile dismissed the political debate over time limits as ?completely sterile and said it would be better to give judges the power to monitor detention periods. Suspects rights should be paramount and detainees should have the right to appeal against continued custody, he told BBC Radio 4?s Today programme.
He denied his scheme would amount to internment, with people detained indefinitely without trial.
"What I am seeking to do is strengthen the rights of those being detained," he said.
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