This muddled terror law limits free speech and wrecks innocent lives

David Edgar: This muddled terror law limits free speech and wrecks innocent lives: Comment is free, The Guardian: The glorification clause of the Terrorism Act has created a climate where artists and academics must watch their words.

Written by David Edgar, The Guardian, Tuesday July 22 2008″

A student downloads an al-Qaida document from a US government website and is held in custody for six days. A shop assistant writes poems about cutting people’s heads off and is tried for being a terrorist. An opera composer is accused of promoting terrorism, objects, and is bankrupted by a national newspaper.

What do these cases have in common? First, none of these people was successfully convicted of any crime. Second, none of them faced charges under the glorification clause of the Terrorism Act 2006. Third, they would not have been arrested and/or tried and/or bankrupted had it not been a climate of opinion created by that clause.

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