April 17, 2006

THEY WANNA BE LIKE W:

Europe, Too, Takes Harder Line in Handling Terrorism Suspects (KATRIN BENNHOLD, 4/17/06, International Herald Tribune)

[M]any European governments, including some that had criticized the United States for its antiterrorism measures, have been extending their own surveillance and prosecution powers. Officials, lawyers and human rights experts say that Europe, too, is experiencing a slow erosion of civil liberties as governments increasingly put the prevention of possible terrorist actions ahead of concerns to protect the rights of people suspected, but not convicted, of a crime.

Most of Britain's new counterterrorism legislation, which outlaws the vaguely worded "glorification" of terrorism, came into force on Thursday. Italy and the Netherlands have relaxed the conditions under which intelligence services may eavesdrop. French legislation recently gave investigators broader access to telephone and Internet data. German legislation being drawn up seeks to allow intelligence services easier access to bank and car registration records.

"We are fiddling with rights that only a few years ago seemed untouchable," said Álvaro Gil-Robles, human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, an intergovernmental group that monitors human rights.

The most contentious areas concern treatment of terror suspects, he said. Several European countries are extending the length of time suspects who have not been charged may be held or restricted in their freedom.

Some nations have been seeking ways to deport suspects even if torture is practiced in the suspects' home countries. That brushes uncomfortably against major United Nations and European treaties that forbid deportations if the suspect faces a risk of torture.

"Something pretty fundamental is going on," said Gareth Peirce, a lawyer at Birnberg and Peirce in London who represents the Algerian man under surveillance in North London and nine other Middle Eastern and North African men arrested without formal charges within months of Sept. 11.

"A number of countries have been trying to avoid their treaty obligations in relation to arbitrary detention and torture," she said.


And here the Left and far Right keep telling us it's just a matter of George W. Bush being a crypto-fascist....

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 17, 2006 12:15 AM
Comments

"Álvaro Gil-Robles":

A relation of the Spanish right-wing Catholic political leader of the 30s?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 17, 2006 12:50 AM
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