Home Secretary’s proposals for Extension of Pre-Charge Detention

10 Dec 2007

The MCB remains fully committed to prevention of terrorist criminality and to that end will support all processes which will assist in that essential matter of public security.

However the MCB strongly opposes any extension to the existing period of pre-charge detention. Its opposition is not driven by any dogma but by stark lack of evidence in support of the need for extension. We believe that even the current period is too long, having led to the over long detention of large number of innocent persons.

The MCB notes that the case for extension has received no support from various shades of political spectrum. It is explicitly opposed by highly knowledgeable professionals and well respected experts. MCB believes that political posturing in this sensitive area is most unhelpful to the cause of community cohesion.

On the one hand the MCB feels encouraged by the Prime Ministers’ commitment to consensual decision making on this subject, on the other hand it notes that the period of pre-charge detention is being treated as a commodity fit to drive a bargain.

It is our considered view that any extension is wholly unnecessary and totally disproportionate. The debate surrounding this issue is seen as grossly unjust victimisation of a community under the spotlight and is likely for that reason to have the effect of fuelling anger and frustration.

We urge our government to eradicate the roots and causes of terrorism rather than just devise measures that ostensibly deal with the symptoms of this evil.