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Britain seeks to hold terrorism trial in secret

June 4, 2014

LONDON (AP) — British media organizations are challenging the government’s attempt to hold a terrorism trial in secret on the grounds of national security.

A lawyer representing media groups said Wednesday he believed it was the first time that an order was made requiring a criminal trial to be conducted entirely behind closed doors, with the media excluded and the defendants anonymized.

Partial reporting restrictions are sometimes imposed on criminal trials.

“We submit that the orders made mark such a significant departure from the principle of open justice that they are inconsistent with the rule of law and democratic accountability,” said Anthony Hudson.

Last month, a judge ordered the trial of the two men, identified only as “AB” and “CD,” to be held without members of the public or media present and with a prohibition on reporting the proceedings.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam said the circumstances of the case were “exceptional.”

Three appeals judges said Wednesday they would give their decision in the next few days.

The two men are due to go on trial later this month.

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