Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An attack on the rule of law

That is the only way to describe the Australian government's latest actions in the Mohamed Haneef case. After detaining him for two weeks without charge, the Australian authorities finally charged Haneef with "recklessly supporting a terrorist organisation". However, as the only claim made was that he had left a cellphone SIMcard which was not even used in any terrorist attacks with relatives who later turned out to be alleged terrorists (how reckless of him, being related to the wrong people), and there was no evidence that he was any threat to the community, a magistrate granted him bail. This wasn't good enough for the Australian government, who didn't want their chance to grandstand and whip up fear in the run-up to an election ruined by such petty things as courts and evidence, so they pulled his visa, circumventing the court's decision, and allowing them to detain him indefinitely without charge.

This is authoritarianism worthy of any absolute monarch or petty despot. If that is what the Australian government is going to do whenever the law isn't on their side, you wonder why they bother having the charade of courts and laws at all.