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UK Debates Holding Terror Suspects For 42 Days: Too Long?

The US isn't the only country with a firm eye on terrorism — and they're certainly not alone walking the tricky line between government abilities to crack down in meaningful ways and civil liberties. The British House of Commons is set to vote on a measure allowing police to detain people for up to 42 days without charge if they're suspected of terrorism-related activities.


Human rights organizations are outraged by the provision. Amnesty International, has launched an online petition called, "Say 'No' to 42 Days" saying of the measure, "Allowing police to lock people up for a month and a half without charge will undermine basic human rights to which everyone in the UK is entitled." Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying that, "giving British authorities the power to detain terrorism suspects for up to six weeks without charge violates the fundamental right to liberty and risks undermining counterterrorism efforts."

Those closer to the government are speaking out as well. To see what they had to say, read more.

The former British spy chief says holding suspects for six weeks is excessive. Though the bill might be defeated in the House of Lords, it faces a round of political back and forth if the government insists on the plan. The House of Lords own blog says it's probably a portion of the bill that will ultimately be decided by the courts.

With the government in Britain already able to access scads of personal information, where is the line between safety and rights? Is 42 days too long to be held without charge?

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