‘Secret’ inquests back on MPs’ agenda

By politics.co.uk staff

MPs are to consider plans to introduce secret coroner’s inquests later today.

The coroners and justice bill contains plans originally included in last year’s Counter Terrorism Act which would make some inquests where national security is judged to be under threat held out of the public eye.

Civil liberties groups have expressed deep concern about the proposals, which could see relatives, juries and the press excluded.

Amnesty International UK’s campaigns director Tim Hancock said: “When someone has lost their life at the hands of the state, it’s essential – and required by international law – that an independent and impartial inquiry finds out how and why it happened.

“Coroners can already decide – independently – to exclude the public from part of an inquest on grounds of national security.

“Letting the government make this decision will lead to accusations of cover-ups and could deny both the public and the victim’s family their right to know what happened.”

Many believe the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes – who was shot dead after being mistaken as a terror suspect on a London Underground station in July 2005 – would have been held in private had the legislation already been passed.