The Home Office has said it would be ?inappropriate? to explain why it has appealed against a European ruling that Section 44 stop and search anti-terror powers breach human rights.

A Home Office spokeswoman today confirmed that, as expected, the government went ahead with its decision to lodge the appeal ahead of yesterday?s deadline set by the European Court of Human Rights.

?It would be inappropriate to comment further,? the spokeswoman told Amateur Photographer, adding: ?It is now down to the courts.?

Earlier this year Policing and Security Minister David Hanson said he was disappointed by the court?s decision.

Hanson, who is the minister responsible for counter-terrorism policy, held talks about Section 44 in a meeting with Amateur Photographer magazine last month.

The controversial law, which allows police officers to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion, has been heavily criticised by many, including photographers.

In January, the Strasbourg-based court ruled that police powers to stop and search have ‘not been curbed by adequate legal safeguards so as to offer the individual adequate protection against arbitrary interference.’

The court had been hearing a case involving Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton who were stopped outside the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition in London in 2003.

Quinton had been filming a protest outside the exhibition, which took place in Docklands.

The court ruled that their rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated. ;

The news comes as press photographers prepare to stage a rally in support of press freedom in London this evening.

Jess Hurd, one of the organisers, said: ?Both professional and amateur photographers are being stopped routinely by police on grounds of conducting ?hostile reconnaissance?. The use of these laws has been challenged and deemed ?unlawful? by the European Court of Human Rights.’

The event, organised by the National Union of Journalists, takes place at Friends Meeting House in Euston Road, London NW1 at 7pm.


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