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Passion Islam I February 2010 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 7
UK stop and search
powers illegal
Powers given to police under Britain’s The European Court awarded
terrorism laws to stop and search Kevin Gillan, a student from Sheffield,
people without grounds for suspicion northern England, and Pennie
are illegal, the European Court of Quinton, a freelance photo journalist,
Human Rights ruled. 33,850 euros (£30,400) to cover their
The Strasbourg court said that the legal costs.
emergency powers violated article It ruled that the stop and search
eight of the European convention on powers were “not sufficiently
human rights, regarding the right to circumscribed” and there were not
privacy. “adequate legal safeguards against
The case, which involved two abuse”.
people stopped outside a protest It also concluded that “the risks of
demonstration near a London arms the discriminatory use of the powers”
fair in 2003, is seen as a blow to the were “a very real consideration”.
government’s policy on combating the The decision overturns a 2003
threat of terrorism. High Court ruling in Britain, which was
The powers under Section 44 of subsequently upheld by the Court
the Terrorism Act 2000 have already of Appeal and the House of Lords
proved controversial in Britain for that the use of stop and search was
disproportionately targeting Muslims. proportionate under the European
The excessive use of stopping tens Convention on Human Rights and
of thousands has also been widely justified in the light of the threat of
criticised for its very low success rate terrorism.
in leading to arrests and convictions.
University head to tackle extremism
University leaders are to examine The group will “consider how should be banned.
how to tackle violent extremism on universities can work with all relevant While universities can act to stop
campus without damaging academic organisations, nationally and locally, illegal speeches - such as those which
freedom. to ensure the protection of freedom of could incite racial hatred it can be
A working group of university chiefs speech and lawful academic activities, more difficult for universities to decide
is to be set up, headed by University whilst safeguarding students, staff whether to allow opinions to be aired
College London provost, Malcolm and the wider community from violent which might offend, without breaking
Grant. extremism”. the law.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, In seeking to find out how Umar There are also questions about
accused of attempting to blow up Farouk Abdulmutallab had been the extent to which universities should
a plane flying to the United States, radicalised, there had been scrutiny be expected to monitor such events
was a former student of the London of his time as an undergraduate at which might be small gatherings of
university. UCL between 2005 and 2008, when students.
Universities UK president, Steve he had studied engineering and Another area of concern has been
Smith, said there had to be a balance business finance. the right of academics to explore
between security and freedom of Professor Grant has rejected controversial areas, such as terrorism
speech. claims that this radicalisation took and groups holding extreme views.
“It is essential that as a society we place at the university and has warned This could include questions over
respond rationally to the issue of that there is a “narrow line” to be academics visiting the websites of
extremism,” said Professor Smith. walked between tackling extremism extremist groups.
The working group, which will and protecting a free exchange of University staff have previously
be formed from university vice- views. been called upon to help tackle
chancellors and other academics, A spokesman for Universities UK extremism and to monitor students
will consider how to achieve the says the working group will seek to causing concern.
balancing act of preventing campus reconcile these two pressures. But this had been strongly rejected
extremism without undermining the Among the issues to be considered by the UCU lecturers’ union as an
right for students and staff to hold free will be invitations to outside speakers unacceptable request to spy on their
debates. and whether controversial views students.
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