Monday, November 24, 2003

We cannot take this on faith

KiwiPundit says:

I'm not sure whether Zaoui's detention is unjust, because we don't know what classified information they have. It seems doubtful that one person would be singled out like this for no reason at all.

I'm sure the SIS has a reason, I'm just not sure that it's a good reason. And the problem with the current system is that we will never know. Without proper, independent oversight of the process, we effectively have to take it all on faith. And given the quality of their "evidence" so far, the bias displayed by the supposedly "independent" judge and by the Immigration Minister, that is simply not possible.

In the wider context, there are some things no government can be trusted with. Noone should be imprisoned solely on the say-so of a government official, no matter how good they think their reasons are - such contravenes some of the fundamentals of our constitution. If the government wants to lock someone up, they should prove it in a court, before a jury - or at worst, before a panel of judges in camera. But they should not be allowed to imprison people simply because they've convinced themselves that it is justified.