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Terror suspects could face indefinite controls on their freedoms under new laws

TERROR suspects who have not been convicted of any crime could face indefinite controls on their freedoms such as tagging and enforced curfews under proposed new laws.

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, introduced in Parliament today, has been described by ministers as the largest overhaul of terrorist sentencing and monitoring in decades.

The proposed legislation is intended to extend terrorism-prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) and reduce the burden of proof required to use them.

Ministers say that these measures, which include curfews, tagging, living away from an address or area and restrictions on overseas travel, are intended to control the risk posed by terror suspects.

But rights group Liberty claims that the changes would pose a threat to “fundamental pillars of our justice system.”

The Bill builds on the government’s response to recent terror attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall in the City of London and Streatham High Road, which led to the ending of automatic release of terrorism offenders half-way through their sentences.

If passed, it would see the current two-year cap on Tpims lifted.

Liberty’s legal and policy officer Rosalind Comyn said: “This legislation not only authorises people being locked up indefinitely, it also poses a threat to fundamental pillars of our justice system.

“The fact this Bill is being issued during a pandemic, when Parliament is not operating at full capacity or able to deliver normal levels of scrutiny, should be a cause of concern for all who care about the future of our democracy and justice.”

Labour said it would scrutinise the Bill but did not express concerns over its implications for civil rights.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said: “As a responsible opposition, we will work with the government to scrutinise this proposed piece of legislation to make it effective.”

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