UK enforces law which bans public from criticising the govt
by Janine Griffiths — January 25, 2014
A British citizen was held for days without charge in a London mental hospital under little-known laws which allow the police to arrest and detain anybody who voices criticism against politicians or celebrities.
The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was quietly set up to identify individuals who they claim pose a direct threat to VIPs including the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Royal Family.
It was given sweeping powers to check more than 10,000 suspects’ files to identify mentally unstable potential “killers and stalkers” with a fixation against public figures.
The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.
Using these powers, the unit can legally detain people for an indefinite period without trial, criminal charges or even evidence of a crime being committed and with very limited rights of appeal.
FTAC is enforced by the police anti-terrorism unit, and so although it technically is a separate branch of law, it is enforced under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act. It works in a similar way to laws in Thailand which ban citizens from saying anything critical of the Thai royal family.
A number of British citizens have already fallen victim to these laws. Activist David Compan was imprisoned without charges in a London mental hospital after he publicly associated himself with the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCC) campaign to hold the Crown of England responsible for crimes against children.
Social worker Elizabeth Scully has confirmed to ITCCS organizer Rhianne Mockridge that David was held for ‘examination’, but Scully initially refused to say where or provide any other details.
David Compan is a friend and supporter of Rhianne and other ITCCS activists in Coventry, who have led occupations of local roman catholic churches and are now convening a common law court to enforce ITCCS warrants against convicted felons and child abusers.
*The Akashic Times recently learned that after tireless campaigning by the ITCCS, David was released*. However, the law which allowed him to be locked up in the first place, is still in full effect.
The FTAC law allows the government to imprison indefinitely without charges anyone who is considered to be “fixated” about public figures, “VIP’s”, or members of the Royal Family.
Currently the law is very vague over what can be considered to be an unhealthy obsession against public figures. Worryingly, no trial is needed to provide evidence of the crime.
Until now, it has been the exclusive decision of doctors and mental health professionals to determine if someone should be forcibly detained.
But the new unit uses the police to identify suspects – increasing fears the line is being blurred between criminal investigation and doctors’ clinical decisions.
Human rights activists fear the team – whose existence has never been publicised – may be being used as a way to detain suspected terrorists without having to put evidence before the courts.
It also comes amid a continuing row over proposed mental health legislation which will make it easier to ‘section’ someone deemed a threat to the public.
MP Andrew Lansley was an outspoken critic of the law and said it could be used to target anybody with a religious, political or cultural belief that goes against the norm. He said: ”The Government is trying to bring in a wider definition of mental disorder and is resisting exclusions which ensure that people cannot be treated as mentally disordered on the grounds of their cultural, political or religious beliefs.
“When you hear they are also setting up something like this police unit, it raises questions about quite what their intentions are.
“The use of mental health powers of detention should be confined to the purposes of treatment. But the Government wants to be able to detain someone who is mentally disordered even when the treatment would have no benefit.
“Combined with the idea that someone could be classed as mentally ill on the grounds of their religious beliefs, it is a very worrying scenario.”
The laws were previously introduced under Tony Blair and are still being used today.
Last year we exposed how the Justice and Security Bill gives British courts the mandate to hold both criminal – and civil – cases in private and prevent suspects from hearing the evidence against them. It also enhances the powers of the Intelligence and Security Committee – which was established by the Intelligence Services Act in 1994.
It effectively makes them exempt from having to supply documents under the Freedom of Information Act and extends their right to conduct surveillance on the internet.
Suspects who have been excluded from secret court proceedings would be represented by a ‘special advocate’ – a security cleared lawyer chosen by the government or prosecutor, who is appointed on their behalf.
At the end of court hearing, the person being tried may win or lose their case without knowing why, as the court’s reasoning will likely be “classified”.
In fact, suspects don’t even have to be told there is a trial taking place against them, until they are arrested by police to begin their prison sentence. The legislation effectively marked the start of tyranny and ‘disappearing’ in the UK, which is usually seen in countries like North Korea or Zimbabwe.
Last year, we revealed how new laws were being introduced to allow for the use of secret courts in the UK for criminal and civil cases. The law effectively makes it “legal” to hold a court case against someone without their knowledge, detain them and penalise them – without telling them why, and without giving them access to a lawyer.
Akashic Times is the UK’s only online, fully independent not-for-profit weekly newspaper that brings you real news from across the globe.
If you want to keep ahead of what is really going on in the world, subscribe to our newspaper via the subscribe button and join our Facebook & Twitter pages. Subscription is completely free ofcourse