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November 08, 2007

British Law Convicts For Mere Possession of Records

This morning, a jury in London convicted Samina Malik, the self-named "Lyrical Terrorist," of possessing records likely to be used for terrorism.

Malik, who worked at WH Smith at the airport, was arrested in October last year. When her bedroom was searched police found a ringbinder full of documents as well as a bracelet bearing the word "jihad".

There was also a sticker on a mirror inside the door, bearing the words "lyrical terrorist".

In one handwritten document found by police, she wrote: "I want to have the death of a shaheed [martyr] ... I want the opportunity to take part in the blessed sacred duty of jihad."

Also found were publications from an Islamist extremist group called Followers of Ahl us-Sunnah Wal-Jammaa'ah, linked to another group, The Saved Sect, and to the extremist cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri.

You read that right. Malik made no act of terrorism beyond collecting pro-terrorist propaganda and pining for her own martyrdom. At worst, she joined an organization which spreads Al Qaida propaganda. Note, however, that there was no evidence that she took part in such dissemination.

Contrary to the claims of the Left, which constantly portrays the U.S. as discarding basic rights on a daily basis, Britain takes a much narrower view of speech and association rights.

Related: The Conservative Party (Britain's Rightist Party) is trying to keep Labour (Britain's Leftist Party) from extending the time limit for detaining terrorism suspects without charge.

At present, the British police can hold terrorism suspects for 28 days. Labour would like to make the time period longer (Blair tried to make it 90 days and failed). Labour is also considering allowing use of extended detentions for criminal suspects other than terrorists.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, accused the government of seeking to establish a "permanent undeclared state of emergency."

Of course, the U.S. government can detain terrorist combatants indefinitely under certain circumstances. That detention, however, is made by the military, not police forces. Local police forces are still bound to recognize the due process rights of those people they arrest.

The British reaction to domestic terrorism reached far beyond the PATRIOT Act-inspired nightmares of the American Left.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:10 PM

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