UK independent reviewer releases 2012 terrorism report

By Christine Duhaime | July 22nd, 2013

The independent reviewer of the U.K.’s terrorism legislation has released his latest report (the “Report“) highlighting terrorism developments over the last 12 months in the U.K.

Some interesting parts of the Report are as follows:

Terrorist acts targeted against Jewish people

According to the Report, there were several terrorist incidents in the U.K. principally targeted against Jewish people. In 2012, arrests related to religiously-inspired terrorism increased from 122 to 159, and doubled in France from 46 to 91. The terrorist-related incidents targeting Jewish people include:

  • The March 2012 shooting of seven people in Toulouse, France, by Mohamed Merah;
  • The July 2012 suicide bomb attack on a bus at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria which killed the driver and five Israeli passengers;
  • The October 2012 grenade attack on a kosher grocer in Paris injuring one person and prompting a fatal shooting by police; and
  • The conviction of the husband-wife team of Mohammad Sajid and Shasta Khan in July 2012 for terrorism related to the preparation of bomb-materials.

Terrorism offences in 2012

The statistics in respect of arrest, prosecutions and convictions related to terrorism in Great Britain for the year ended 2012 are interesting:

  • There were 246 terrorism-related arrests;
  • 43 people of the 246 were charged with terrorism-related offenses;
  • Of the 43 charged, 18 thus far have been prosecuted, 16 of whom were convicted;
  • 31 people were tried in 2012 for terrorism and were convicted at a rate of 84%;
  • One of the convictions in 2012 involved the plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange;
  • One of the convictions involved terrorist financing to benefit Somalia;
  • By the end of the year, there were 122 persons incarcerated for terrorist-related offenses;
  • Some of those incarcerated involved extremism for animal-rights groups;
  • At the end of March, 2012 there were 118 terrorists incarcerated in Great Britain and 89 of them were U.K. citizens; the remainder were foreign nationals mostly from Africa; and
  • 89 of the 118 incarcerated terrorists were Muslim.

Right to counsel for terrorism charges

The Report pinpoints two interesting cases currently pending before the courts in the U.K. They are interesting because they raise the specter the right to counsel and the gravity of the offence, and in particular, the tension between the fight against terrorism and privilege.

The first, McE v. Prison Service of Northern Ireland is under appeal before the European Court of Human Rights. It involves a decision by the House of Lords in which it was held that the U.K. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 allows the secret monitoring of privileged client / solicitor discussions.

The second, Beghal v Crown Prosecution Service, also under appeal, involves a case by a French foreign national who was stopped at a U.K. airport on her return from visiting her husband who was incarcerated in France for terrorist offenses. She refused to answer questions of the border officers until a solicitor was present and as a result was charged with and pleaded guilty to, willfully failing to answer questions. The appeal has been heard and a decision is pending.

The full text of the Report can be read directly here.

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