Chris Huhne and his Liberal Democrat colleagues have just finished a press conference in Cowley Street, launching the party’s draft Freedom Bill. As he writes for Comment is Free:
There has always been a problem for civil libertarians. The sacrifices of freedoms made by successive governments often seem small, particularly when they are pushed through at times of panic about terrorism. Each time, the government argues that you only need to give up a modest amount of freedom or rights to win greater security. And what could be more free than life itself? Yet the cumulative effects of this salami-slicing have now become deeply corrosive to the free spirit of a civil society. Like some sci-fi horror movie, we are slowly becoming the authoritarian threat that we are fighting.
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One of the cases highlighted by the campaign is that of Maya Evans who was the first person to be arrested under the provisions of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act in 2006. She was arrested for refusing to cease reading aloud the names of British soldiers who had been killed in Iraq following the 2003 Iraq war. She was arrested for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration within 1km of Parliament Square. She received a conditional discharge and a fine.