British court rejects tactic used to hold terror suspects


LONDON -- Throwing down a new challenge to the government's tactics against terrorism, a High Court judge ruled yesterday that so-called control orders - a form of house arrest without trial - were incompatible with European human rights laws.

The government is expected to appeal Justice Jeremy Sullivan's ruling. Civil rights groups depicted it as a victory in a sharpening duel over the government's efforts to amass ever greater powers, ostensibly to combat terrorism.

The debate began after the Sept. 11 attacks but has become more intense in Britain since the July 7 bombings in London.

If the government's appeal fails, the authorities will have to seek some other mechanism to continue holding the six suspects whose cases prompted the ruling.

In his decision, Sullivan said control orders conflict with the right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights. The authorities, thus, had no power to make the orders, he ruled.

New York Times News Service

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