Britain’s Detention Regime Causes Devastating Impact

Britain’s Control Orders And Detention Regime Cause Devastating Impact On Families, Report Reveals

The Institute of Race Relations has published a new report on the devastating impact on family life of Britain’s anti-terrorist control order and detention policy. The report, entitled ‘Besieged in Britain’, has been written by journalist and author Victoria Brittain, co-author with Moazzam Begg of Enemy Combatant: a British Muslim’s journey to Guantánamo and back. Based on her meeting and working with the families of those UK-resident Muslims detained without charge in British prisons, placed under virtual house arrest by Home Office control orders or held at Guantánamo, the report reveals the psychological damage done by extreme denials of civil liberties.

While Obama’s becoming US president has led to an examination of the last seven years of that country’s anti-terrorist policy, the British government’s anti-terrorist measures of detention without trial and house arrest have remained largely invisible.

The ‘Besieged in Britain’ report describes how these measures have:

  • caused severe mental health problems induced by extreme stress, isolation and fear;
  • led to suicide attempts;
  • driven men to leave their families and return ‘voluntarily’ to regimes where they face imprisonment and torture.

Victoria Brittain said: ‘Do we really want our country to be one that holds men under house arrest – some for more than 20 hours a day; allows them only vetted visitors – often just one at a time; confines them to a small geographic area; forbids them internet access; electronically tags them; subjects their homes to random police searches day or night without notice; and keeps the alleged evidence against them secret?’

The ‘Besieged in Britain’ report appears in the January 2009 edition of Race & Class, a quarterly journal published by the London-based educational charity, the Institute of Race Relations.

For more information on the Institute of Race Relations, see

Source: Arun Kundnani
SAGE Publications UK