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42 days? Or would you prefer 90?


Chris Lees

Many people are in favour of the 42-days detention without charge for "terrorists", not realizing the hazards that this poses for innocent members of the public. Today I spoke with Chris Lees. His unjust justice experience in Spain has been described on our site, and continues to be a warning. Those who throw away the key of habeas corpus may find themselves on the wrong side of the cell door.

Habeas corpus used to limit a person's confinement before charge or release to 48 hours, which it remains today in the United States, a country considerably exercised about terrorists. (A great British invention, habeas corpus was first established in Magna Carta, and was taken to America by Brits.)

In Continental Europe the time a person can be held without charge is 90 days in most jurisdictions. In order to bring about the Fabian Socialists' desire to tie us ever more closely to the EU, the British Government is destroying habeas corpus. The 48 hours was extended to 14 days then 28 days and now 42 days. It is only a matter of time until the government pushes for 90 days. They have done a good job pretending that this will only apply to terrorists. But who will they define as a terrorist?

Today Chris Lees is a respected businessman in Bristol. The attached article, first published in The Freedom Association, shows the hazards and personal agony of the administrative detention and Napoleonic inquisitorial system that is part of the EU. Incidentally, please note that Chris is no longer a member of the Lib Dem Party.


THOUSANDS of British families have fled this once great and glorious land in search of a better way of life. This is the sought after antidote to relieve the pain from this overtaxed nanny state of crumbling public services - our ageing relic of a country being pensioned off to Brussels to live out the rest of its natural life as a broken down annex of Northern Europe. Spain beckons and the Costa del Sol with its 340 days of sun and long rolling beaches fits the bill perfectly and plays host to many of these modern day lotus-eaters. Yes I admit it - I fell for all this hook line and sinker. Selling up and moving to Marbella in 1998 was a break for freedom.

Coming from Britain I found it strange that as a foreigner - even as a European - you had to register yourself with the police and obtain a tax number also from the police. Every necessary official piece of paper - and in Spain there are many - seemed to have something to do with the police.

One even stranger incident did make me wonder as to how much power the police had. One day I tried to obtain money from my Spanish bank account with my cash card only to have the card confiscated by the machine. I raced over to my bank to sort this matter out only to be told by the clerk that the police had frozen my account.

What! Run that past me again! Yes the police had frozen my account over an unpaid speeding fine. Fortunately, the fine had nothing to do with me but with the new owner of a car I’d sold some months ago. The new owner, a Spanish man, hadn’t registered the vehicle in his name, again with the police, and so I was the innocent bystander caught up in this imbroglio.How could the police have the power to embargo my bank account over a fifty pounds speeding fine and, worst of all, not even inform me about it? No wonder I started to worry.

In July 2001, I received a phone call at 6.30 in the evening. It was the police. “Senor Lees, your company is the managing agent for a property located east of Marbella and we have some bad news for you.” The phone call went on to say that the property in question had been under observation for a couple of weeks and that 2,500 kilos of cannabis resin had been found there in the garage. Two people of Moroccan origin had been arrested at the property and would I kindly call in at the police station tomorrow to help with enquiries?

Shocked at what I had just learned, I raced over to my Fuengirola office and found the paperwork. The following morning I drove over to the comisaria (police station) and as requested introduced myself and asked to speak to a member of Grupo UDYCCO - the Spanish equivalent of the Serious Crime Squad. Understandably, I was shocked and upset that this had happened and as a law-abiding citizen who has never been in trouble with the police in his life, I was keen to help to clear this matter up.

I was shown into a small office. The door slammed shut behind me and I was met by three plainclothed and very aggressive police officers. One of them showed me a Polaroid snap of a wall of hessian sacks and proclaimed, in my face, that this haul of hashish was mine and I would go to prison for a long time. For good measure, he spat in my face and racially abused me.

No one would listen when I was languishing in Malaga prison. They nearly killed me with the drugs they forced into my body and I nearly killed myself whilst on hunger strike. Nobody came to my rescue. Nobody cared about my human rights. Nobody picked me up when I was mentally broken. It took fifty weeks of my fighting to be heard before my case went to trial. Very lucky I was, too, because they could have kept me there for two years on remand and then asked for an extension of another year.

I sat in the dock and there was no evidence against me whatsoever. The Moroccans testified that they’d never seen me before in their lives and couldn’t understand who I was. The whole thing was a complete farce. Even the police were unsure why they had arrested me. I was a success in business and they didn’t like it. That was the real reason for putting me behind bars and they took it all away from me, all except my spirit.

People ask me if I will receive compensation? The answer is no. The reason is quite simple; Corpus Juris. Suspicion, arrest, investigation and then charge. That’s the way it is over there. There’s no stigma to being in prison. Every family has, or has had, at least one male member of the family put away. This is the Napoleonic inquisitorial system that exists in Europe today and the system that they are trying to impose upon us in Britain.

They say that what happened to me could not happen here. Well, wake up and take a look around you. Our freedoms are under attack as never before. No one else should have to endure the pain of what I went through for no reason at all. Therefore it is incumbent on us all to stand up, fight and speak out, not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect others.

Chris Lees is now back in the UK. He is an entrepreneur and works with the Internet and the motor trade. Chris also undertakes media work and is a writer, researcher and motivational speaker. He has many anecdotes about his time in prison. Many of them, to his credit, are humourous. He can be contacted at

Article first published in July/August 2004 Freedom TODAY