For the first time in the UK’s modern legal history, two men could face an entirely secret criminal trial for terrorism charges, their identities, the proceedings, and the verdict concealed from the public record.
First reported Wednesday, the blackout sparked alarm among human rights campaigners, lawyers, and politicians.
“To hold trials entirely in secret is an outrageous assault on the fundamental principles of British justice,” Clare Algar, executive director of UK human rights organization Reprieve, told the Telegraph.
Until Wednesday, the media was banned from reporting the trial at all. After a challenge to the gag order by UK media organizations, including the Guardian and the Daily Mail, the press won the right to cover a Wednesday hearing challenging the gag order. The court will rule on the appeal to the media blackout in the coming days.
The case involves two men, identified as “AB” and “CD,” who will face terrorism charges in a criminal court. The Crown Prosecution Service successfully pushed for the secrecy, which would ban any public report on the trial’s proceedings and outcome, on the grounds that it is necessary for the protection of national security, with the specifics unknown to the public.
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