Gobierno británico busca consenso en torno a ley antiterrorista

LONDON, England (AP) — Britain’s home secretary signaled Wednesday that he was prepared to make concessions on sweeping anti-terrorism legislation, as opposition lawmakers and members of his own party joined forces in an attempt to block it.
Charles Clarke offered to hold urgent all-party talks on the most controversial proposal — extending the maximum 14-day detention for terror suspects without charge to three months.
Clarke said he wanted to reach consensus on the issue and promised to approach the talks «in a spirit of flexibility and openness.»
A rebel Labor lawmaker David Winnick, who had put forward an amendment calling for a maximum 28-day detention, said he would withdraw the amendment following Clarke’s proposal to hold talks on the issue.
The Terrorism Bill was drafted in the wake of the July attacks on London’s transit system, and is designed to tackle Muslim extremism. The bill aims to outlaw training in terrorist camps, encouraging acts of violence and glorifying terrorism. (Watch: Firefighters recall horrors — 3:46)
The proposal to extend the ability to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge had drawn contention, with opposition lawmakers and members of the governing Labor party indicating they would oppose it.
Police and prosecutors argue more time is needed in complex cases, in which terror suspects often have multiple aliases and store information in tightly encrypted computers, and in which cooperation of foreign agencies is needed.
But critics say that extended detention would erode civil rights.
Other measures also face opposition. Many governing Labour Party lawmakers rebelled on Wednesday over the offense of encouraging terrorism and tabled an amendment insisting prosecutors must establish «intent» if someone is to be convicted. The rebels lost by just one vote — 300 to 299.
Opposition lawmakers and Labour rebels also tried to remove the clause on glorification of terrorism, arguing it was too widely drawn. Voting was 305 to 289, meaning the proposal survived by just 16 votes.
Following a disappointing result in national elections earlier this year, the government’s lead in the Commons was slashed. It now has only 66 more seats than all the other parties combined and is more vulnerable to defeat.
Prime Minister Tony Blair urged lawmakers to think carefully before voting «against the express desire of the chief of the Metropolitan Police, the head of the anti-terrorist operations and the people charged with protecting our country.»
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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