The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has tabled amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill that will change the law in relation to extradition in two ways, reports the Telegraph....
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The Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened in a test case in England in which the High Court has ruled that the police cannot keep photographs of people without criminal records or those not found guilty.
The judges agreed with the Commission’s submission that unless someone has been charged with, or convicted of, a crime it is an unjustifiable breach of their right to a private life for the police to hold on to a photograph of them.
The court did not agree with the Metropolitan Police’s argument that keeping these photographs of those not convicted was necessary for preventing crime and disorder.
The court has ordered the Metropolitan Police to revise its guidelines within months. The police force is then very likely to have to destroy its photographs of anyone who is innocent of any crime.
The ruling is in keeping with other test cases that the Commission has been involved in where the courts also decided that the police could not retain people’s DNA and fingerprint data indiscriminately or indefinitely.
John Wadham, General Counsel, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“Without the protection of our human right to a private life, the police would be able to hold onto your DNA, fingerprints, and photographs even if you’d done nothing wrong. There is no good reason why the police should hold onto information about people who have not committed any crime.
"However, we recognise the importance of retaining the identification of people who have been charged with or convicted of offences. But it is essential that the police use these powers appropriately, proportionately and fairly.”
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given its judgment on the issue of prisoner voting, saying that it is up to Member States to decide how to regulate the ban on prisoners voting, but that an automatic and indiscriminate disenfranchisement of all serving prisoners, irrespective of the nature or gravity of their offences, such as exists in the UK, is incompatible with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (right to free elections) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, it accepted the UK Government’s argument that each State has a wide discretion as to how it regulates the ban, both as regards the types of offence that should result in the loss of the vote and as to whether disenfranchisement should be ordered by a judge in an individual case or should result from general application of a law.
The Court did not consider it appropriate to give guidance as to the content of future legislative proposals, which was a decision for the Government. However, it took the view that the lengthy delay to date demonstrated the need to set a timetable for the introduction of proposals to amend the electoral law in the UK.
The Court has therefore given the UK Government six months to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the law.
UK businesses will be required to disclose all their efforts to end slavery, under a Bill launched in Parliament.
The Transparency in Supply Chains Bill, drafted by the Centre for Social Justice and Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart, will demand that businesses investigate whether their supply chains are slave-free.
As part of landmark measures to raise awareness about the nature and scale of human trafficking, businesses will be encouraged to conduct an audit of their suppliers to check that they comply with anti-slavery laws.
An estimated 27 million people are enslaved worldwide and this latest legislation will prompt all UK businesses, with a turnover of over £100 million or more, to take responsibility to end this appalling abuse.
Employees working with suppliers should be trained to blow the whistle on questionable practice, and all information of the vital work being done to combat slavery should be published online as part of the business’s annual review.
The Bill, intended to foster cooperation and build a consensus on slavery, is expected to prompt a cultural change similar to that brought about by the environmental or fair trade movements.
The CSJ is conducting an 18 month review of slavery in the UK which will be published in the Autumn of 2012.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that detention conditions and length of sentences of five alleged terrorists would not amount to ill-treatment if they were extradited to the USA.
The case of Babar Ahmad and Others v. the United Kingdom concerned six alleged international terrorists – Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Tahla Ahsan, Mustafa Kamal Mustafa (known more commonly as Abu Hamza), Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz.
Between 1999 and 2006 all six applicants were indicted on various terrorism charges in the United States of America. On the basis of those indictments, the US Government requested each applicant’s extradition from the United Kingdom.
As a result, all six applicants were arrested in the UK and placed in detention pending extradition to the USA. They then contested their extradition in separate proceedings in the English courts, without success, their requests for leave to appeal to the House of Lords and the Supreme Court ultimately being rejected.
In its Chamber judgment in the case, which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there would be:
Amnesty International has recently been giving evidence on human trafficking to the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee, in which it raises concerns about the lack of prosecutions for human trafficking in Scotland.
Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director for Amnesty in Scotland, said:
"There have been 150 convictions for trafficking offences in England and Wales, but only one successful prosecution in Scotland. Prosecutions for lesser offences, whilst potentially easier to prove, carry lesser punishments, and make it impossible to know the scale and nature of trafficking here. Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government's consideration of a statutory human trafficking criminal aggravation, there should be more efforts to pursue full prosecutions as in England and Wales.
"The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee’s own report into Trafficking and Migration, published in 2010, recommended that a Scottish referral mechanism be set up which places the welfare of the potentially trafficked individual above all else.
“We were disappointed that this recommendation was not taken up and would urge the Scottish Government to lead the way in tackling this form of modern-day slavery and adopt the Committee’s recommendation. We need to ensure that traffickers are pursued vigorously and that it is the welfare of the victim which is the primary concern. We also need to ensure that individuals showing signs of being trafficked are identified early and given the support they need.”
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that, in the case Austin and Others v. the United Kingdom, there had been no violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned a complaint by a demonstrator and some passers-by that they were not allowed to exit a police cordon for almost seven hours during a protest against globalisation in London.
The applicants complained that they were deprived of their liberty without justification, in breach of Article 5 § 1. Their applications were lodged with the European Court of Human Rights during July 2009.
The Court notably found that the people within the cordon had not been deprived of their liberty within the meaning of the Convention. In particular, the police had imposed the cordon to isolate and contain a large crowd in dangerous and volatile conditions. This had been the least intrusive and most effective means to protect the public from violence. Although the police tried to start dispersing the crowd throughout the afternoon, they had been unable to do so as the danger had persisted.
Since Article 5 did not apply, the Court held – by 14 votes to three - that there had been no violation of that provision.
Notwithstanding the above finding, the Court emphasised the fundamental importance of freedom of expression and assembly in all democratic societies, and underlined that national authorities should not use measures of crowd control to stifle or discourage protest, but rather only when necessary to prevent serious injury or damage.
The human rights group Liberty has launched a campaign, ‘For Their Eyes Only,’ against the Government’s Justice and Security Green Paper.
Liberty reports that the Green Paper contains proposals which would allow future ministers to shut out the press, public and bereaved families from any court case where it is considered a public hearing could ‘cause damage to the public interest’. This could include actions arising from complicity in torture, inquests into deaths in custody, police negligence, or compensation claims resulting from friendly fire.
The Government’s proposals would see Closed Material Procedures and Special Advocates brought more generally into the civil law, claims Liberty. Proceedings would be conducted without the involvement of the party bringing the claim, and secret evidence – never disclosed to the claimant, let alone public or press – would be used to defend serious allegations. The only people present would be the judge, the Government and Special Advocates – who are forced to try and represent claimants without ever being allowed to discuss evidence with them.
According to Liberty, the Government is also seeking to elevate the Security Services – and potentially other bodies – above the law in civil actions focusing on the wrongdoing of third parties where the UK is involved.
The Criminal Appeal Court has struck down a provision in the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 that removes judicial discretion in the imposition of a particular bail condition. According to the Court, the provision is in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)....
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in the case Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom, which is not final, that Omar Othman (also known as Abu Qatada) would be at real risk of a grossly unfair trial if deported to Jordan, where he is wanted on terrorism charges.
The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that, if Mr Othman were deported to Jordan:
Glasgow Caledonian University lecturer Dr Kiril Sharapov, an expert in the field of human trafficking, is to undertake the biggest study ever into the public’s attitude towards the problem – and how consumers’ spending habits contribute towards it.
Dr Sharapov says that there is a widespread misconception that human trafficking is only associated with the illegal sex trade, where people are forced into prostitution after being trafficked across borders.
He believes a growing demand for cheap goods and services, and lack of public awareness of trafficking, obscure our concern for the welfare of the migrant workers involved. Such demand and lack of awareness fuel the exploitation of migrant workers, many of whom work in a wide variety of everyday situations, including care homes, hotels, construction, the service industry and the UK’s meat and poultry processing sector.
“Trafficking is not just the issue of badly controlled borders, or economic migrants or criminals. It should be looked at from the perspective of why people are smuggled and trafficked here – there is a demand for cheap and exploitable labour. The rising costs of energy and raw materials and the continuing economic downturn are having a direct impact on the price of consumer goods,” said Dr Sharapov.
“This creates downward pressure on wages and an increasing demand for cheap labour that can be easily intimidated, for example by physical violence, threats of deportation or to the security of family back home, and exploited.”
Dr Sharapov’s work will focus on the UK (where people are trafficked to), Ukraine (where people are trafficked from) and Hungary (where people are trafficked through).
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