21
Okt
2004

Terror Fears Can't Curb 'Liberty'

Court: Terror Fears Can't Curb 'Liberty'

Fear of a terrorist attack is not sufficient reason for authorities to search people at a protest, a federal appeals court has ruled, saying Sept. 11 ``cannot be the day liberty perished.'' A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Friday that protesters may not be required to pass through metal detectors when they gather next month for a rally against a U.S. training academy for Latin American soldiers. Authorities began using the metal detectors at the annual School of the Americas protest after the 2001 terrorist attacks, but the court found that practice to be unconstitutional. ``We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War on Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over,'' Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote for the panel. ``Sept. 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country.''

City officials in Columbus, Ga., contended the searches are needed because of the elevated risk of terrorism, but the court threw out that argument, saying it would ``eviscerate the Fourth Amendment.''

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-4556013,00.html


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