28 May 2019|Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Oppose new powers to prosecute returnees from designated overseas areas
In the wake of the panic caused by British citizens travelling to North East Syria to join ISIS, and the terrorist threat they may pose upon their return, the British government rushed through the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. It created a new offence of entering or remaining in a “designated area” overseas (Section 4, amending section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000). The offence would apply to UK nationals and residents, with a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, a fine, or both. A “reasonable excuse” defence is available; limited exceptions are permitted. But the onus is on the defendant to provide the reasonable excuse. In other words, this Act has eliminated the presumption of innocence and replaced it with a presumption of guilt.