HC Deb 24 October 2002 vol 391 cc417-8W
Mr. Grieve

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans there are to expand the UK and EU lists on proscribed terrorist organisations; what criteria must be met in order for someone to be added to the list; how often the list is reviewed; when the list was last updated; what discussions he has had with the(a) US Administration and (b) Governments in South East Asia and Australia regarding the proscription of terrorist groups. [76167]

Mr. Blunkett

[holding answer 22 October 2002]: I will be laying an Order next week for the proscription of the terrorist organisation Jeemah Islamiyah (JI).

Under Part II of the Terrorism Act 2000, I have the power to recommend to Parliament the proscription of any organisation which is "concerned in terrorism", as defined in the Act, if I am satisfied that the statutory criteria are fulfilled.

Under the Terrorism Act, an organisation is "concerned in terrorism" if it:

  • commits or participates in acts of terrorism;
  • prepares for terrorism;
  • promotes or encourages terrorism, or
  • is otherwise concerned in terrorism

In considering which international terrorist organisations should be subject to proscription, I take the following factors into account:

  • the nature and scale of an organisation's activities;
  • the specific threat that it poses to the UK;
  • the specific threat that it poses to British nationals overseas;
  • the extent of the organisation's presence in the UK and
  • the need to support other members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism

The list of proscribed organisations is kept under constant review. There have been no changes to the list since the Order proscribing 21 international terrorist organisations which came into force on 29 March 2001. We remain in constant contact with the international community in the global fight against terrorism.

Mr. Malins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been detained without charge under the recent anti-terrorism legislation, and in each case(a) what access to legal advice has existed, (b) whether criminal charges are anticipated, (c) the length of time spent in custody and (d) whether bail applications have been made; and if he will make a statement [75424]

Mr. Blunkett

Twelve foreign nationals have so far been detained using powers in Part IV of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security (ATCS) Act 2001. Eight were detained in December 2001, one in February 2002, two in April 2002, and a further one yesterday.

Of the total detained, two have voluntarily left the United Kingdom. The other 10 remain in detention.

All of those detained have had access to legal advice throughout the detention period. There is no limit to the number of legal visits the detainees may receive.

The persons detained have been detained under a primarily immigration power. They are not being held pending criminal charges.

My decision to detain these individuals was made on the basis of detailed and compelling evidence. That evidence will be examined by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission when the individuals' appeals are heard, as provided for under the ATCS Act. The Commission is equivalent to the High Court. It has the power to overturn my decisions.

There have been five bail applications in total made by three individuals. The first bail application was made by one of the appellants in December 2001—this was declined and the appellant subsequently voluntarily left the United Kingdom (UK). An application by a second detainee was withdrawn after the appellant voluntarily left the UK. A third detainee made three bail applications—two of these failed and a third, scheduled to be heard in August 2002, was subsequently withdrawn by the appellant's legal representatives and has not been resubmitted.

Where terrorism is concerned our paramount responsibility is to ensure public safety and national security. So long as the public emergency subsists, where a person is suspected of terrorism but cannot currently be removed and for whom a criminal prosecution is not an option, we believe that it is necessary and proportionate to provide for extended detention, pending removal.

Given the nature of these cases, I am unable to comment in any further detail on individual cases.

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