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Sentamu warns against ‘Idi Amin-like’ powers

08 February 2007

by Rachel Harden

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, warned on Monday that proposed anti-terror measures, including provision for the 90-day detention of suspects, are in danger of making Britain “close to a police state”.

In an interview with ITV News, Dr Sentamu compared the proposed measures to those imposed under Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator in the 1970s, when Dr Sentamu and his family fled from the country.

Dr Sentamu said that the Home Secretary had not produced enough evidence about the effectiveness of the 90 days. It was close to a police state if suspects were picked up and then evidence was found later on. “That’s what happened in Uganda with Idi Amin.”

Dr Sentamu was speaking after police raided addresses in Birmingham and made nine arrests in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap and murder a Muslim soldier. The raids took place on Wednesday of last week in the Alum Rock area of Washwood Heath.

The Revd Allan Townsend, Priest-in-Charge of St Mark and St Saviour, Saltley, said on Monday: “The majority of residents here are Muslims, and felt rather intimidated by the large police presence. Roads were blocked off four or five abreast, and there were lots of white vans driving round.

“I tried to explain to residents, who all know me, as I have a high profile in the parish, that the police have to act if they have information and that justice must be seen to be done.”

On Wednesday, two of the nine men arrested were released without charge.

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