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The blame for this sorry state of affairs lays not so much with Britain’s security services as with the British legal system. Author Raphael Israeli writes in his book, The Spread of Islamikaze Terrorism in Europe, that the tough anti-terrorism laws the British government adopted after 9/11 were eventually struck down “in courts which feared the erosion of human rights.”
Israeli states that in December, 2001, in response to 9/11, the British adopted the Anti-Terrorism and Security Act, “which allows suspected foreign terrorists to be detained indefinitely” and required Britain to opt of the Human Rights Convention. However, while most British citizens viewed the new legislation as a strong, common sense measure needed to protect them from the homicidal vision of Islamist lunatics, Britain’s Law Lords saw it differently. In December 2004, they ruled that opting out of the Human Rights Convention was “unlawful” and “was ‘disproportionate to the terrorist threat and discriminated against foreigners’.” A legal decision CF and his friends would probably have celebrated.
In response to the Law Lords’ ruling, the British government introduced in 2005 a measure to restrict suspected terrorists’ movements. Called control orders, they were brought in under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and have been called a form of house arrest that includes electronic tagging. Both British and non-British citizens were subjected to that measure.
“In previous known cases, the legal (control) measures have been used to restrict extremists whom the Home Secretary has been unable to deport to their home countries due to human rights concerns,” states the Telegraph.
Earlier this year, Britain’s Conservative government passed in parliament its own version of control orders called the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims). Eight people besides CF are currently subject to TPims. Nicknamed ‘control orders-lite’, TPims preserved most of the restrictions of the previous control orders, including the electronic tags. This was providential, since police were able to track CF’s movements through the electronic bracelet he was wearing and make his arrest at Stratford Station. But the cold, hard fact of the matter is that these restrictive, government-imposed rules were not enough to prevent a suspected terrorist like CF, with aspirations to die in a suicide operation, from making it to the Olympic Park in the first place.
CF’s defence for using the prohibited Olympic Park rail route was that he was visiting his lawyer’s office in Stratford. Nevertheless, he stands charged with breaching the TPim measures. And not surprisingly for the lenient British court system, the would-be terrorist was granted bail despite the prosecutor’s protest that the accused, when out on bail on a previous charge, had “re-engaged in Islamist extremist activities.”
But perhaps the court is right and CF will not take up Islamist pursuits when on bail this time. After all, he can spend his time more productively preparing the legal challenge he has launched against the British government regarding TPim’s legality. He and CC are also suing the government because they claim its “agents were complicit in torturing them in a Somali prison.”
As far as the Olympic Games are concerned, the British public can probably rest easy. The British legal system scheduled CF’s first court date on the breach of TPim’s charge for July 27, so visitors to the Games can at least enjoy the opening ceremonies without worry. Hopefully.
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