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Ben Wallace condemns laws preventing UK from capturing terror suspects

Human Rights laws force military chiefs to KILL suspects with drones or leave them plotting – because detaining and extraditing them is too difficult ex-Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says 

  • Ben Wallace said human rights laws block Britain from capturing terror suspects 
  • The former defence secretary said the laws mean forces kill suspects instead

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace has said human rights laws are hindering Britain’s efforts to tackle terrorism by preventing UK forces from capturing suspects and taking them abroad. 

Speaking for the first time since he quit his Cabinet role, he hit out at the ‘lunacy’ of international treaties, including the European Convention on Human Rights, that block UK forces from capturing ‘enemies of Britain.’

Instead, human rights legislation forces UK defence secretaries to choose between killing suspects with drones, or leaving them to continue plotting, Mr Wallace told The Telegraph.      

The ex-British Army Officer, who was succeeded by Grant Shapps, said he was forced in his role as defence secretary to ‘deal with’ terrorists by strike instead of capturing them due to law stopping suspects from being taken across borders. 

Under international law, missions that could result in the rendition of a suspect – meaning their extrajudicial transfer from one country to another – are not permitted, he said. 

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace (pictured) said human rights legislation is preventing UK forces from capturing suspected terrorists

Mr Wallace said: ‘When we have a threat to the UK, this lunacy of being unable to render people across borders or arrest people in countries whose police forces are unacceptable, means that we are more often than not forced into taking lethal action than actually raiding and detaining.’

He said in his time as defence secretary, he ‘came across plots’ and ‘took action’, but would have liked to have had more options available to him.

‘There are a number of individuals who pose an imminent threat to the UK, who I would prefer to have captured, rather than deal with by a strike,’ Mr Wallace said.

‘If there was an Isis plot in some Central African country for example, under international law we have the right to take action with or without permission from the host nation, but we couldn’t capture the bad guys – we could only kill them.’

He explained that if a suspected terrorist surrenders during a raid, UK forces ‘can’t do anything with them’ due to human rights legislation that blocks them being captured and taken abroad. 

The former defence secretary said terrorists are taking ‘advantage’ of modern technology to ‘direct, inspire and equip people to kill British citizens’ while hiding in countries without extradition policies. 

‘There are nations currently hosting terrorists who direct threats against Britain, and they know they do. They’re not going to comply or help,’ he said.  

Ben Wallace said he would not push to get rid of the ECHR but instead said human rights law should be updated, to ensure it is suitable for the modern world (File photo: The European Court of Human Rights)

Mr Wallace said he would not push to get rid of the ECHR but instead said human rights law should be updated, to ensure it is suitable for the modern world. 

‘I’m not going so far as saying we should scrap the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights), but unless the international human rights bandwagon recognises the world we live in today is transnational, and technology has enabled like never before, far from guarding people’s rights, we’ll drive people to take more extreme measures,’  he said. 

‘If you care about human rights, then you need to update yourself, because otherwise the option is, they’re dead. Surely you want them to have a trial in front of an independent judiciary and jury?’

Mr Wallace announced in July that he would resign from the role. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replaced him with Grant Shapps last month.

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