Thursday, August 11, 2016

John Catt's Secret Police Files

From Rob Evans' 7-25-16 Guardian article entitled "Protester, 91, Goes to European Court Over Secret Police Files":

"A 91-year-old whose political activities were covertly recorded by police has won the right to take his legal case to the European court of human rights

"John Catt, who has no criminal record, has fought a six-year battle to force the police to delete their surveillance records of his activities at 66 peace and human rights protests.

"The police had noted descriptions of his appearance and clothes at the demonstrations and how he liked to draw sketches of the protests.

"The case in front of the European court could help to determine how much information police are permitted to record on law-abiding individuals taking part in protests. 

"Judges in the court said one of the key questions they would consider is whether the retention of the records was legal and necessary in a democratic society.

"Police have been criticised for keeping intelligence files on the political activities of thousands of campaigners, including Green parliamentarians Caroline Lucas and Jenny Jones, and journalists. 

"The police’s intelligence unit tasked with catching so-called 'domestic extremists' says it needs to track large numbers of protesters in case they commit crimes to achieve their political goals. 

"Catt, a war veteran who has been involved in the peace movement since 1948, lost his legal battle at the supreme court in 2015 after winning in the court of appeal

"On Monday, Catt said: 'Denied justice in Britain, I am now taking my fight to Europe in the hope that if successful, the case will set a benchmark in regulating what information the state is legally entitled to collect and retain about lawful protesters, and where unlawfully retained, it should be destroyed.

“'I believe that this is a case about the democratic right to protest free from fear of unwarranted police surveillance, retention of data and endlessly being shadowed.'"

To read Rob Evans' entire article, click HERE.

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