Section 44 defeated in the European CourtTagged as: free_spaces repression social_struggles solidarity
Neighbourhoods: brussels dsei europe london uk
Published by group: Indymedia London
This morning, it has been announced that Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton have won their case against the Metropolital Police over being stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in the European Court of Human Rights.
Pennie and Kevin were stopped on 9th September 2003 on their way to the protests against the DSEi arms fair in East London. The stop and search powers used by the Police were under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and allow any uniformed officer to stop anyone at any time, anywhere, and search them for "articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism." Failure to comply is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both. Kevin and Pennie were supported by Liberty, the Human Rights Watch organisation in the UK, to appeal against the stop and search laws. Their arguement was that it infringed the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically Articles 5 (right to liberty and security), 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 10 (freedom of expression) and 11 (freedom of assembly and association). The courts in the UK all failed to agree with them - specifically stating that they did not think it could breach Article 8. However, the case was taken to the European Court and this morning, judgement was passed. The seven judges (including one from the UK) and Section Registrar agreed that not only did the searches constitute an interference with private life, but were also applied in a manner that meant there was insufficient legal safeguard to protect individuals. Thus, the searches did not comply with Article 8 and costs and damages were awarded against the UK government.
background reading by the NUJ: http://media.gn.apc.org/fl/0906echr.html
Pennie Quinton on Comment is Free at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/oct/30/spotter-card-stop-and-search
European Court of Human Rights press release (full background information): http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=4&portal=hbkm&action=html&highlight=&sessionid=42618771&skin=hudoc-pr-en