Cameron brushing aside ancient rights to fair trial & equality before law

November 19, 2012

Commenting ahead of the Secret Courts Bill reaching Report Stage in the House of Lords today, and on the Prime Minister’s proposals to limit judicial review, Reprieve’s Executive Director, Clare Algar said:

“The Prime Minister seems determined to hamstring the courts when it comes to holding ministers accountable for their actions.

“The Government is this week attempting to force plans for secret courts through the House of Lords, which would put ministers above the law. Now we hear he is seeking to limit the public’s ability to challenge decisions made by ministers.

“The right to a fair trial and the principle that no one is above the law are hard-won freedoms which we should cherish. Yet David Cameron appears to regard these ancient rights as a mere inconvenience to be brushed aside.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 7791 755 415

2. The Justice and Security Bill, which would roll out secret courts – known as ‘Closed Material Procedures’ – across the British civil justice system will be debated at Report Stage in the House of Lords today and on Wednesday (21 November).  Further information on the Bill can be found on Reprieve’s website: www.reprieve.org.uk/investigations/secret_justice

3. The Prime Minister’s proposals to limit judicial review of Government decisions are expected to be made in a speech today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20389297

4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.