Former Australia chief justice denounces anti-terrorism laws

Former Australia chief justice denounces anti-terrorism laws

[JURIST] Former Australian High Court [official website] chief justice Sir Gerard Brennan [profile] Wednesday denounced anti-terrorism laws [text] being used to detain an Indian doctor [press release] believed to be connected to last week's attempted terror attacks [JURIST report] in London and Glasgow. Dr. Mohammed Haneef has been held in Australian police custody since Sunday, when he was stopped as he was about to board a flight to Malaysia. Brennan said the laws under which Haneef is being held are vague and that he is concerned about language that "brands advancing a religious cause as an element in a heinous crime." Brennan also described provisions in the laws as "draconian," saying they threaten individual liberty.

In December 2006, a Australian parliamentary panel called for independent review [JURIST report] of the anti-terror laws. In November, Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official website] rejected a civil rights bill proposed by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) [official website], saying it limited the government's ability to deal with terrorism [JURIST report]. AAP has more.