Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Human Rights – do we understand them in this country?

Just imagine you are living in a foreign country – let’s say Australia, just for the sake of your imagination, and the Government decides you are a threat to national security. They lock you up but don’t tell you what the charges are. They threaten to deport you to another country which wants to put you on trial for crimes for which the only evidence is statements obtained under torture. How would you feel? Would you feel affection and loyalty towards Australia or would you feel resentful and perhaps even want to strike back at the unfairness of it all?

The Government is furious that a judge has freed Abu Qatada. In a land which prides itself on its democracy and the rule of law we have kept someone incarcerated for six year without charge and without trial. Yet the Government wants to continue to keep him in prison.

They claim he is dangerous – he does seem very unpleasant from what is reported about his preaching, but that is not (yet) a crime. However, they have no evidence to put him on trial and the evidence in Jordan was obtained by torture – just how reliable can such evidence be?

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