LONDON — Terror suspects being held under Britain’s house arrest-style detention program are in contact with extremists and plan to carry out attacks in future, the lawyer responsible for overseeing the country’s terror laws said Tuesday.
Britain’s Home Office said 15 terror suspects are being held under the regime, which monitors suspects who are considered a risk to national security but have not been charged with a criminal offense.
Suspects must observe strict curfews, wear an electronic tag and can be banned from using cell phones and the Internet.
Lord Alex Carlile, who oversees Britain’s terrorism laws, said that though suspects can be banned from meeting certain individuals, some are still in touch with known extremists.
Some suspects are able to dodge checks and “manage to maintain some contact with terrorist associates … and a determination to become operational in the future,” Carlile said in an annual report published Tuesday.
“For some people, these measures simply aren’t doing the job, while for others, they violate the basic legal principle that we are innocent until proven guilty,” Chris Huhne, a lawmaker with the opposition Liberal Democrat Party said.
Carlile said that the number of people held under the program had risen since last February, when around 12 suspects were being monitored.
He said that since the program was introduced in 2005, a total of 38 people have been held – 23 of whom have been released or deported out of Britain.
But Carlile, who sits in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, said that the government has ignored his warning that suspects should not be held under the program from more than two years.
Some suspects have been held for more than 3 years under the program, he said.