In any civilised society, every citizen has the right of presumption of innocence, except in Howard's Australia. The golden rule of natural justice in any secular democratic society is that every “accused” is innocent until proven “guilty”.
For David Hicks who was in detention for more than 4 years, Howard and his ministers decided that he deserves this, even though there was no trial or conviction. They have not only abandoned him, but sent an envoy to England, to encourage them to refuse him English citizenship. After this attempt failed, the Australian envoy was sent to abort any diplomatic intervention on his behalf.
For Al Hilaly, he should be sacked, possible jail and prospective deportation. All this without any court conviction, sacking through legitimate channels or losing in polling boxes.
The Australian government is ready to spend millions of dollars following him from country to country, taping all his speeches and ceremonies, translating all these into English and then staging media and political circus after circus.
For the three Australians arrested in Yemen for possible links to a “terrorist organisation”, Howard has already decided that they “broke the laws and they deserve everything”; full-stop, no need for any further evidence, a fair trial or conviction.
Howard knows as a legally trained person that the ‘accused is innocent until proven guilty’. Does not he know as PM, who controls many security agencies, that Yemen is a very corrupt government from its head to toes?
What kind of a leader are we having in Australia?
Let us compare his response on other issues!
Do we remember Schapelle Corby?
She was caught red-handed trying to smuggle drugs into Bali. John Howard wrote a letter to her personally promising that he will use all in his power to save her.
Do you also remember Fred Nile, member of NSW Legislative Council. He attacked Muslim women's rights. Howard did not stage any media circus to sack him. On the contrary, he supported his right to express his personal and religious views, even if they are bigotted.
And I do not want to remind you with his response to Pope's remarks of “we should really move on.”
Mr Hicks, Al Hilaly and the three Australians arrested in Yemen are all still innocents (not like Corby) and deserve fair treatment and presumption of innocence, until proven otherwise.
It is very clear that in Howard's Australia, you are guilty according to either your faith or your appearance.
You are guilty until prove your innocence if:
●You are Muslim.
●You are of Middle Eastern appearance.
●You speak English with an accent, unless you prove that you are not Arab or Muslim
This is a better and cheaper-to-run system, where any politician can decree a conviction. Even an ordinary policman can do this job. All what it needs is to add ethnic origin and faith/religion to the driving licence or ID card.
This Howard has a very good non-conventional method for every agenda item. This time he invented the persecution of his opponents by media. No need to spend money to construct cases, no need to spend money for diplomatic missions to help “accused”, no need to spend money for judges and courts.....
On the contrary: he will save a lot of money: ‘if you do not do what I want, I will withheld funds for your community’!
The actions of the Howard government mirror that of a kangaroo court process and affront the Australian constitution as it severely compromises the doctrine of the separation of political power and judicial power, an integral part of the Westminster system of government he supposedly cherishes so much.
And we still believe that we are living in a secular democratic society, not in a banana republic!!