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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January 2005, 16:48 GMT
In quotes: Reaction to house arrest plan
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced plans to replace indefinite detention for terror suspects with a range of controls including house arrest in some cases. Below are some reactions to the announcement.


Omar Radi, spokesman for several families with relatives held at Belmarsh Prison, after telling them the men would not be released immediately and of the new proposals:

They were very upset. One woman said she thought the home secretary would feel the pressure and release her husband. These things are reminding them of back home, of Algeria, Tunisia or Egypt - it's these kind of laws that they have run away from.


Eric Metcalfe, of human rights organisation Justice:

The end to indefinite detention is very welcome but some of the measures proposed fall short of the need to protect basic rights. Upholding the rule of law is the ultimately the best defence against terrorism.


Ian Macdonald QC, who resigned from his post on the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in protest against Britain's detention of foreign terror suspects:

Instead of accepting that they were wrong, the legislation was wrong, the government appears to be trying to do the same thing but change the form in which they're doing it and I think that's wrong.


A former chief constable who did not wish to be named:

We've got to try different methods for curbing the movement of terrorists and I see nothing wrong in principle with this. I can already hear the police screaming about the implications for resources, but look how expensive it is to keep someone locked up in Belmarsh.


Louise Christian, the lawyer representing Britons Feroz Abbasi and Martin Mubanga who have just been released from Guantanamo Bay where they were held, without charge, under suspicion of terrorism.

House arrest seems to be something that happens in places like Burma to Aung San Suu Kyi. One wonders about whether it is something that is acceptable in a democratic society.


Mark Oaten, Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesman:

For three years now, the government appeared to have been dragging their feet on this issue but we now have the sense that the new home secretary, in particular, is genuine about finding a way forward. The Liberal Democrats will give serious consideration to the measures and, in particular, to the control orders that he's suggesting.


David Davis, Conservative shadow home secretary:

Throughout history, internment has generally backfired because of the resentment it creates. So unless the process is clearly just, the home secretary could find himself confining one known terrorist only to recruit 10 unknown terrorists.


Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain:

The MCB has long argued that the indefinite detention of these foreign terror suspects was discriminatory and that their continued incarceration without charge represented our very own mini-Guantanamo Bay. It is encouraging that the Government is now looking at more humane alternatives.




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