British Anti-Terror Seizure Powers Declared Unlawful

A British Judge ruled that the asset-freezing orders imposed by the Treasury on suspected terrorists were flawed because they were introduced without any discussion in Parliament. Lawyers for five men only identified as A, Ki, M, Q, and G, argued in court that the regime set up under the Orders to apply UN Secturity Council resolutions–aimed at preventing the financing of terrorist acts-was harsh and unfair. The UN resolutions have never been scrutinized, debated or approved by Parliament. Mr. Justice Collins noted: “Counsel for the applicants have submitted that the means used to apply the obligations imposd by the UN resolution is unlawful. Parliament has been bypassed by the use of orders in council. But, in deciding the appropriate way in which the obligation should be applied, and in particular in creating the criminal offences set out in the orders, it was necessary that parliamntary approval should be obtained.”

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she would appeal the ruling which she claimed damaged efforts to halt terrorism. An ongoing issue raised by making assertions that person A or G is a terrorist and therefore must have his assets frozen is the presumption of guilt without a trial. Such actions impair the ability of an individual to organize a defense against accusations which, in effect, provides the prosecution with an improved ability to secure a conviction. This is hardly in accord with tradtional concepts of being viewed as innocent before proof is offered and agreed upon in a court of law.