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Australian terror ruling reminds governments to eschew abusive interrogation

Asim Qureshi [Researcher in International Law, Cageprisoners]: "Travelling through the world researching into abuses of human rights in the 'War on Terror', a familiar pattern begins to emerge; values and the safeguards of democracy are being stripped away in the name of international peace and security. Many governments have acquiesced the use of extra-judicial 'techniques' to apprehend and question detainees around the world. While in Kenya investigating unlawful detentions in the wake of the Somali-Ethiopian conflict, I stumbled across cases of American and British citizens being held illegally while being questioned by MI5 and the FBI. Despite being held in such a way, none of these men had any recourse to the law as their vulnerable position was being abused.

The case of Izhar Ul-Haque serves as an initial step to restoring the balance between security and justice. The landmark case in Australia should send a reminder to its government, and indeed governments worldwide that in the search for international terrorist networks, techniques which undermine the value of the rule of law must not be incorporated. Often security and intelligence services rely upon fear and intimidation to extract information from individuals, however this process can come at a very high cost.

Judicial systems worldwide should look to the Australian courts in terms of the clear message that has been sent out, much in the same way they did after the House of Lords ruling in the UK which denied the use of evidence gleaned from torture. Those disillusioned with the way in which western democracies have double standards in issues such as the use of torture and unlawful detention only use examples as that of Ul-Haque's to add fuel to their fire. For the security of the world, the security and intelligence services must conduct their investigations within the safeguards of due process."

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