Monday, July 30, 2007

Tried in secret

The second phae of the hearing into Ahmed Zaoui's security risk certificate starts today - but unlike the earlier sittings, these parts will be closed both to the public, and to Zaoui himself. Instead, the SIS will present their "evidence" directly to the Inspector-General in secret - evidence which is so secret that not even Zaoui is allowed to hear it. Zaoui will be represented by a "special advocate", who will do their best to point out flaws in the SIS's case, but they will be unable to consult Zaoui or to seek information from him which may well provide an innocent explanation for the SIS's claims. As a result, the special advocate will be unable to do a proper job, and the SIS's "evidence" will be effectively uncontested. Which is, I suspect, the point.

The exclusion of the media from the initial hearings was bad, but this is worse. It is a mockery of a judicial process, which violates the right to natural justice affirmed in the BORA. Such a process has been found to be "critically flawed" in the UK, to the extent that British lawyers now refuse to participate in it. It is simply shameful that it is being used here, in a country which supposedly respects human rights.