UK peace activist to sue police over secret surveillance


John Catt, aged 86, has had his presence at peaceful protests systematically logged by secretive police unit over four years

Rob Evans and Paul Lewis
London Guardian
May 4, 2011

An 86-year-old man has been granted permission to launch a lawsuit against police chiefs who have classified him as a “domestic extremist” and kept a detailed record of his political activities on a clandestine database.

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John Catt, who has no criminal record, is bringing the high court action against a secretive police unit which systematically logged his presence at more than 55 peace and human rights protests over a four-year period.

Some of the entries record his habit of taking out his sketch pad and drawing the scene at demonstrations. Other entries contain notes on his appearance – such as “clean shaven” – and the slogans on his clothes.

His lawsuit will challenge the power of police to compile secret files on law-abiding protesters.

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