Voluntary Sector: Amnesty targets terror legislation

Amnesty International UK plans to make anti-terrorism legislation the focal point of general election campaigns in local constituencies.

The organisation wants to ensure that the Anti-Terrorism Bill, passed earlier this month but due to be reviewed next year, continues to be seen as an election issue and is at the forefront of parliamentary candidates' minds.

It will ask candidates from all parties to make a decision about their stance by signing a 'pledge card' stating that no one should be detained without proper trial.

'We are putting parliamentary candidates on notice of the fact that this debate has not gone away,' said Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin.

'MPs should be able to make a commitment to defend basic questions of justice, liberty and due process. The (anti-terror) bill is fundamentally flawed and we will probably want it to be withdrawn entirely,' he added.

The organisation has also teamed up with human rights charity Liberty to highlight the abuses caused by the anti-terrorism measures.

It will attempt to grab the media's attention by using PR stunts that illustrate the plight of house-bound prisoners, such as by showing a living room in a cage.

It wants to create empathy for the detainees by pointing out that house arrests stigmatise entire families and place restrictions on the liberties of suspects' partners and children who live in the same house and therefore may be unable to 'do ordinary things such as have friends round'.

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