GOVERNMENT PLAYING DANGEROUS GAME WITH DETENTION PERIOD EXTENSION

March 31, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting ahead of the tomorrow's vote on the Counter Terrorism Bill over the extension of the maximum detention period without charge to 42 days, Jenny Willott, Lib Dem Shadow Justice Spokesperson and MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"In 2006, the Government doubled the maximum detention period without charge to 28 days. Now, less than 2 years later ministers plan to almost double it again, without any evidence that it is necessary.

"The Government is playing a dangerous game. On the one hand, they have not been able to provide a single case where anyone has needed to be held for longer than 28 days.

"On the other, keeping people locked up without any charges brought against them for such a long period is unlikely to help win over the Muslim community whose support is essential in countering terrorism.

"At the same time, the Government's wider approach to Criminal justice is shooting its self in the foot. The early release from prison of Yassin Nassari, who was convicted of a terrorist offence, is a direct result of the Government's prison overcrowding crisis.

"By trying to force this issue, Gordon Brown is steering his Government to an unnecessary and pointless defeat.

"Rather than chasing headlines by passing more and more draconian laws, this Government should concentrate on properly implementing those that it has already passed."

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