Joint Committee On Human Rights First Report


Appendix 1: Memorandum from Mr Belal Ballali

Whether the new criminal offences in Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (encouragement of terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications) have inhibited legitimate freedom of expression, association and religion, and if so, how.

The difficulty with this legislation is not just the definition of terrorism but also what is encouragement of terrorism. Would saying that you understand the frustration of a Palestinian would be suicide bomber, who has seen his father being killed, had his house demolished and is regularly objected to humiliating searches at a check point on his way to work, encouragement. Are the Iraqis who believe that there country has been illegally invaded by a foreign force a terrorist.

With this in mind, a law abiding citizen would be stuck in a dilemma regarding the above and left asking his/her self, is it an offence to say what I am thinking or is it my civil right to express my views in a free society.

Whether the new grounds on which organisations can be proscribed in s. 21 of the Terrorism Act 2006 have inhibited. legitimate freedom of association.

This point is less complicated but in some instances may leave one in a dilemma. Organisations such as Al-Qaeda are clearly terrorist organisations. However, other organisations, such as those in Kashmir and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, are not. These are organisations that are not known to have targeted civilians, nor have they been involved in global terrorism and have concentrated their efforts to their localities. I believe that to proscribe such organisations undermines not only the legislation but also the governments responsible for it.

Whether the UK complies with the duty to investigate and either extradite or prosecute terrorist suspects.

Although the UK complies with its obligation not to deport an individual to a country where they may be mistreated, the fear is that the country where this individual is wanted may indeed decide to deport them to a country where mistreatment may occur. However, if the individual has committed a crime and is on our territory then it should be our courts that try him/her. This is important as we can then ensure that the rule of law is upheld.

Whether the measures adopted by the UK to protect and support the victims of terrorism are adequate.

I must say that many of those who were affected by the 7/7 bombings felt somewhat isolated. This is a serious issue which any serious government must fully understand.

Finally may I take this opportunity to thank you for giving due consideration to my concerns.

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Prepared 22 January 2007