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Falconer tones down his attack on Guantanamo Bay

Joshua Rozenberg / London Telegraph | September 14 2006

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, tempered his planned criticism of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay as a "shocking affront" to democracy when he delivered a lecture in Australia yesterday.

In a version of his speech issued to reporters in advance, he said that acceptance of the rule of law meant that the courts could exercise jurisdiction over the government. "It is because of that principle, that the USA, deliberately seeking to put the detainees beyond the reach of the law in Guantanamo Bay, is so shocking an affront to the principles of democracy."

But in the final version of his speech, Lord Falconer added: "That we disagree on this issue does not detract from the fact that the USA is a close and staunch ally of the UK."

advertisementLord Falconer added his emollient comment when he delivered the annual Magna Carta Lecture to an audience of senators, MPs, judges and academics at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Even so, his remarks were the strongest criticism so far of the US detention camp by a Cabinet minister.

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