Terrorism

Those Troublesome "Rights" Things

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A recent high-profile case in Australia has undermined public confidence in its terror laws. Mohammed Haneef, an Indian doctor, was arrested and detained by police for 12 days under immigration laws despite an initial court order to let him go:

"This is a cynical exercise of power, a slap in the face to the judiciary and a dangerous precedent," was how Stephen Estcourt, the President of the Australian Bar Association, put it to BBC News, making little attempt to conceal his disgust.

Perversely, the case could lead to a strengthening of police powers. The cops found themselves most inconvenienced by the need to cart Haneef to court every few days for permission to keep him locked up, so they're looking to avoid the hassle in future:

This legal to-ing and fro-ing, claims Clive Williams, a counter-terrorism expert at Macquarie University, has actually undermined public confidence in the anti-terror laws.

"Every time they went to court, there was all this publicity, and that put enormous pressure on the police. In Britain it's much easier, when suspects just disappear into Paddington Green [police station in London]. The Australian system is a real pig's ear."

Williams wants the police to have more powers—namely the same 28-day power of detention that British bobbies have. That way, it will be easier for the government to avoid dealing with the damnable free press.