Draconian New Laws: Counter Terrorism or Counter-Productive?
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About the Event
As the Coronavirus pandemic rages on, the government has quickly sought to push through a raft of legislation purporting to deal with terrorism and national security issues. According to the government, the new Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2020 aims to protect the public by keeping the offender in custody longer and imposing stringent conditions when released. Further, it seeks to introduce draconian changes to Terrorism Prevention & Investigation Measures (TPIMs) which are imposed on those that present a ‘threat to national security’. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill 2020, according to the government, is crucial in preventing and safeguarding victims from many serious crimes including terrorism, drugs and firearms offences and child sexual exploitation. The Bill provides an express power to authorise CHIS to participate in conduct which would otherwise constitute a criminal offence. And finally, the Overseas Operations (service personnel and Veterans) Bill 2020, according to the government, will provide greater legal protections to armed forces personnel and veterans serving on military operations overseas. Human rights activists argue that these Bills are alarming and go too far. On the one hand, we see the creation of an ineffective and draconian regime which does little or nothing to address the root causes of terrorists’ offending behaviour. And, on the other hand, we see the handing over of wide-ranging powers to State agencies to operate above the rule of law, to commit crimes at home and abroad, with impunity. This webinar examines the human rights implications of these Bills, whether they are necessary, and whether they serve the interests of counter terrorism and national security.
About the Speakers
Imran Khan QC
Imran has been a practicing solicitor since 1991. He is probably best known for his representation of the family of Stephen Lawrence during the private prosecution, inquest and public inquiry into Stephen’s murder. Imran was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2018 having been a Higher Rights Advocate (HRA) for many years. He regularly appears at the Old Bailey and other Crown Courts in London and the U.K in cases involving murder, terrorism and other serious offences. Imran is Patron of the University of East London Law Clinic, a Trustee of the British Institute of Human Rights and Visiting Professor of Law at London South Bank University.
Naeem Mian QC
Naeem has been involved in most of the major, high profile terrorism related cases in the UK. To date, he has been instructed on in excess of 50 such cases. Some of his landmark cases include securing the acquittal of one of three men charged in connection with the 7/7 London Underground bombings that resulted in the murder of 52 people (R v Saleem & Others); securing the acquittal of a defendant charged with planning a bombing campaign on the UK mainland (R v Hussain); securing the acquittal of a defendant alleged to be making his way to fight in Syria (R v Diini & Others); the acquittal of a defendant dubbed the “Jihottie” charged with funding terrorism abroad (R v Nawal Msaad); and being instructed in the first ever terrorism trial to be heard in secret (R v AB). In addition, Naeem is one of a handful of Counsel regularly instructed on behalf of individuals subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (TPIMs)- formerly Control Orders.
Omran Belhadi, Barrister, Nexus Chambers
Omran undertakes both criminal and civil work as a barrister. Prior to joining Nexus Chambers, Omran worked at international human rights charity Reprieve on cases involving human rights abuses in counter-terrorism operations, including the cases of Belhaj and Another v Jack Straw and Others  UKSC 33 and Yunus Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence  UKSC 1. Omran worked on cases challenging the UK government’s involvement in torture and drone strikes. While at Reprieve, Omran has worked on complex tort claims and judicial reviews as well as claims to the International Criminal Court. Between 2012 and 2013, Omran worked with Justice Project Pakistan in Lahore, Pakistan on litigation seeking to repatriate Pakistani citizens held by the US military in Afghanistan. He advocated for their release before US military boards and government officials from the US, Pakistani and Afghan governments.
Nadia Akhtar, MLAG Working Group
Rashidul Islam, MLAG Working Group
This webinar is introduced and moderated by Sultana Tafadar (Barrister at No5 Chambers), Head of Counter-Terrorism & National Security Working Group, Muslim Lawyers Action Group
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