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Passion Islam I December 2009 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 9
Secretive surveillance powers
openly challenged for the first time
A hearing examining the controversial hopes to deal a blow to frivolous use It is to be hoped the IPT upholds
use of covert surveillance by a local of these intrusive powers. her complaint. But if it does not and
authority began last month. James Welch, legal director at the council’s actions are judged
This landmark case is the first Liberty and representing Jenny appropriate, we should all be very
time these powers – granted to local Paton, said: “Jenny Paton is bringing worried indeed.”
authorities under the controversial a vital test case on behalf of ordinary There is no ‘right to know’ under
Regulation of Investigatory Powers members of the British public. If RIPA, meaning that complaints about
Act (RIPA) – were challenged at an a mother going about her lawful covert surveillance cannot often be
open hearing before the Investigatory business can be followed and spied brought as individuals have no idea
Powers Tribunal. upon in this – frankly very creepy they have been targeted.
Liberty represents the – fashion, where does that leave the
complainant, Jenny Paton, and rest of us?
Defiant UK soldier
faces new charges
innocents will
continue to be held
on DNA database
Despite widespread opposition,
the Home Office announced plans
to retain innocents DNA for six
years. Innocent 16 and 17 years
olds arrested for a serious crime
will be treated the same as adults.
All other children arrested but not
convicted of any offence will have
their profiles held for 3 years.
Shami Chakrabarti, Director
of Liberty, said: “It seems the
Government still refuses to
separate the innocent and the guilty
British soldier Joe Glenton is already face another four-year term as he
and maintains a blanket approach
facing a court martial for alleged is already facing a court martial for
to DNA retention. This grudgingly
desertion. alleged desertion after going absent
modified policy creates a repeat
A British soldier who refused without leave in 2007.
collision course with the Courts and
to return to Afghanistan has been “This is not about a breach of
Ministers look stubborn rather than
arrested and faces charges of military regulations. This is about the
effective or fair.
speaking out against the Afghan persecution of a soldier who believes
“Nobody disputes the value
mission which could put him in prison in telling the truth in accordance
of DNA and anyone arrested can
up to 10 years. with his conscience,” said Lindsey
have a sample taken and compared
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton German, convener of the Stop the
to crime scenes. But stockpiling
is accused of leading an anti-war War Coalition.
the intimate profiles of millions of
demonstration and has been charged “He is saying what the majority of
innocent people is an unnecessary
with failing to obey a lawful order and the population believe — that this war
recipe for error and abuse.
other disciplinary offences. is unwinnable and immoral.”
Politicians need to show us that
He allegedly led the protest According to recent polls, a majority
they care about the presumption of
in London last month against the of Britons have called for withdrawal
innocence and not just when MPs
continued presence of UK troops in of UK forces from Afghanistan.
expenses are being discussed.”
Afghanistan. Britain has 9,000 troops in
In December 2008, the
The Stop the War Coalition, which Afghanistan and Prime Minister
European Court of Human Rights
organized the rally, called for the Gordon Brown has authorized the
found Britain’s DNA retention
regime – under which millions of
soldier’s release and accused the deployment of another 500.
innocent profiles are held – to be a
Ministry of Defense of trying to stop A total of 232 British troops have
disproportionate interference with
the freedom of speech. died since the invasion of Afghanistan
personal privacy rights under Article
The charges carry a maximum of in 2001.
8 of the Human Rights Convention.
ten years in prison. Glenton could
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