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25 Sing. L. Rev. 3 (2007)
Reactions to Indefinite Preventive Detention: An Analysis of How the Singapore, United Kingdom and American Judiciary Give Voice to the Law in the Face of (Counter) Terrorism

handle is hein.journals/singlrev25 and id is 8 raw text is: Singapore Law Review
(2007) 25 Sing.L.Rev. 3 23
[A] mid the clash of arms, the laws are not silent - and it is up to judges to give voice
to the law. Acts of terrorism have not ceased since 11 September 2001 and news of
fresh attacks or foiled attempts continues to surface regularly. It is not surprising that
in order to preserve the nation state, governments have used legislative tools to deter
and punish terrorism, including the tool of indefinite preventive detention. In this
article, I analyse the pieces of legislation providing for indefinite preventive detention
in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the judicial response
to them. Adopting Justice Aharon Barak's approach, I submit that the ideal role for the
judiciary in responding to counter-terrorism is two-fold: (1) to bridge the gap between
law and society and (2) to protect the constitution and democracy.
Terrorism is very much alive today in all corners of the world. The New York
World Trade Centre suffered attacks in 1993 and yet again on 11 September
2001. Britain had to cope with bombings of its London buses and subways on
7 July 2005. However, no less worrisome are the foiled plots-more than 50
Muslim Americans have been arrested for various plots since 11 September and
close to 30 plots have been uncovered by Britain's MI-5.1 More recently, on
30 June 2007 and the days following, Britain had to deal with attempted car
bombings at Glasgow Airport and in central London. Singapore has had its own
near-miss with the discovery of the Jemaah Islamiyah plot targeting Yishun Mass
Rapid Transit Station.
The international response to terrorism has been both quick and robust. This
paper seeks to canvass the different judicial responses to one aspect of counter-
terrorism in the United States of America (the USA), the United Kingdom
(UK) and Singapore-indefinite preventive detention. It also attempts to pos-
tulate an ideal role for the judiciary to play in counter-terrorist efforts. Due to
this focus, the most recent development in the USA, namely the enactment of
*   LL.B. (National University of Singapore), 2007. The author wrote this essay in her final
year of her LL.B. degree. It won the first prize at the Singapore Law Review Writing
Competition 2007.
1   Chua Lee Hoong, Long Shadow of Terrorism The Straits Times (11 December 2006).

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