Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Catholics lobby says Guantanamo report shows Govt denying democratic freedoms

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has said that Australians "cannot claim to be defending democracy" while the policy of its government is denying certain essential rights of a democracy including freedom and protection from violence.

PolMin's Dr John Sweeney was commenting on a report commissioned by the Law Council and delivered by Lex Lasry QC. Lasry was commissioned to evaluate the fairness of the judicial system under which Guantanamo detainees David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib are to be tried.

The report concludes that the system it is neither independent, fair nor principled. Mr Lasry questions how such a system can claim to defend "our way of life" when "independent, fair, principled criminal justice system" is such a central element of that way of life.

PolMin described indefinite detention as a violation of human rights not only for people like David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, but also those of asylum seekers, who are not accused of any crime.

PolMin's Dr John Sweeney said: "The current Government's policy with respect to detainees is morally wrong and profoundly damages world peace and Australia's integrity as a democracy. Indefinite detention and the Migration Zone Excision Act must be repudiated.

"Australia is about to go to the polls again. Any Australian who wants to defend Democracy must defend the central elements of a Democracy: they represent hard-won gains against tyranny, gains for basic freedom and for some principles of justice. Australians must make their vote count."

Media Release (PolMin - Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd 16/9/04)

Ruddock failing in duty over Hicks: QC (Sydney Morning Herald 18/9/04)
Ruddock dismisses Hicks study (The Age 16/9/04)

20 Sep 2004