LONDON (AP) — The British government is to unveil legislation Wednesday that could potentially see indefinite curbs on the movements of suspected terrorists, a move that’s prompted concerns over civil liberties.
The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, which is being labelled as the largest overhaul of terrorist sentencing and monitoring in decades, follows a series of attacks that the government said necessitated changes to terror legislation.
“We promised to act and today we are delivering on that promise,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
Under the proposed changes to the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, courts will be able to limit the movement of individuals, including via enforced curfews and tagging, for an indefinite period, subject to review, rather than for a maximum of two years. The bill also seeks to lower the evidence threshold for imposing curbs.
The government says the changes are necessary after 28-year-old Usman Khan stabbed several people, two fatally, near London Bridge last November, before he was tackled by members of the public and shot dead by police officers. He had previously served six years in prison for terror crimes.
Rosalind Comyn, policy and campaigns officer for human rights group Liberty, said the government’s counter-terror strategy is “failing” and that the new bill “threatens” civil liberties.
“By reintroducing, in all but name, the widely condemned control orders, a fundamental principle of justice — the presumption of innocence — hangs in the balance,” she said.