Danger: New secret courts in Britain

The Socialist: Reader’s comment

Danger: New secret courts in Britain

Dylan Murphy, Huddersfield

Over 700 leading lawyers – including 40 QCs – have signed human rights group Liberty’s petition condemning the Justice and Security Bill and government plans to introduce secret courts into ordinary civil law.

A group of human rights organisations worldwide including Liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union and civil liberties organisations from Hungary, Egypt, Canada, Ireland, South Africa and Argentina also issued a joint statement saying:

“Every decent justice system is built upon openness, fairness and equality under the law. These are the principles which are missing from those states founded on dictatorship rather than democracy, fear rather than freedom.

“The past decade has seen terrors perpetrated against innocent citizens in freedom’s name; shameful treatment of individuals by powerful governments and their agents…

“The proposal for secret courts in the British government’s Justice and Security Bill has huge ramifications for this pursuit of accountability and transparency…

“If the UK Parliament passes this proposal into law it will be a huge setback for those of us fighting to secure truth and fairness from our own governments and within our own justice systems across the world.”

The Justice and Security Bill was announced after high-profile and embarrassing litigation and media investigations showing the government’s shameful involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture and indefinite detention without trial.

The bill seeks to limit public scrutiny of Britain’s government, security services and public bodies.

It aims to avoid further embarrassment by bringing in a ‘justice’ system that is deeply flawed and unfair.

Designed to keep the press and public in the dark, these proposals will have serious implications for media freedom and the rights of potential victims and their families seeking answers and justice.