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Denmark: Special Court System for Terror Trials Considered

(Mar. 18, 2009) A committee of Denmark's parliament has proposed the establishment of a special court system for trials of suspected terrorists who face deportation. The new court would be a way to protect confidential information contained in evidence collected by the Danish domestic intelligence agency. Approved attorneys would be appointed to represent any foreign nationals brought to trial. The confidential evidence would be kept from the suspects and their regular attorneys, as well as the press. Furthermore, the suspects would not be allowed to have any visits or contacts from persons that could affect a deportation proceeding.

The committee decided on this approach to protecting secrets following a number of cases in which people were deported despite never having been convicted of any crime. Immigration Minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech, acknowledged that the proposal could restrict the rights of the accused, but approved it anyway, stating “[b]ut it's also fair that in this situation a foreigner would not be able to create a basis for asylum through comments to the press. … We're talking about terror suspects here.” (Special Court System Proposed as Way to Protect Secret Information, THE COPENHAGEN POST, Mar. 12, 2009, available at