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Thursday, April 24, 2008 

UK's High Court knocks down anti-terror strategy of freezing terrorists' monetary assets

So many ludicrous things in England work together to make it almost impossible to fight terrorism properly in that country. From the Telegraph:
The Government’s anti-terrorism strategy was dealt a devastating blow today as the High Court ruled that its powers to freeze suspects’ assets were unlawful and unconstitutional.
Geez, just look at those two words they used to describe the government's steps. Truly, if this is how things are going to be there, then there is no constitution and no justice in England.
A judge said the measures, introduced when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, had not been thought through properly and Parliament had been “bypassed”.

Around 70 suspects are currently subject to orders freezing bank accounts containing about £500,000.

The Treasury immediately announced it will appeal the ruling and the judge agreed that suspects’ assets will remain frozen until the outcome of the appeal.

If the appeal fails ministers are considering rewriting anti-terrorism legislation to incorporate asset-freezing powers into the Counter Terrorism Bill.
Well, let's hope they do, but somehow, I just can't feel optimistic that proper justice will prevail.
At the High Court Mr Justice Collins allowed legal challenges by five men, all British citizens, who have never been charged with terrorist offences but have had their assets frozen.

[...]

The five men making the legal challenge - referred to as A, K, M, Q and G - denied terrorist links and said there had been a “humiliating and devastating” effect on their lives.
The article isn't really clear here about whether the men are terror-suspects. Do I detect a possible sob-story in the works for them?

At the Counterterrorism Blog, Jonathan Winer says:
There is thus a growing risk that the entire international regime to freeze terrorist assets is in a process of disintegration.

In light of this risk, the U.S. and other countries seeking to maintain the ability to freeze terrorist assets need to proceed quickly to develop mechanisms that would provide those subject to sanctions with baseline elements of the right to be heard by by an independent and impartial authority that has the power to grant appropriate relief with procedural guarantees for affected individuals or entities. Some of the most obvious possibilities were laid out two years ago by Professors Thomas J. Biersteker and Sue Eckert of the Watson Institute in a paper for the UN.
That's right, some kind of special legislation is required, perhaps to make it impossible for potential terrorists to use funds within what countries wisely take measures to combat terrorism. However, I'd advise against trying to make any such proposal at an entity as corrupt as the UN. They simply cannot be trusted to follow through on any of that.

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