Saturday, 31 May 2008

Haneef case human rights concerns: lawyer

The lawyer who represented former Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef has told a Law Society function in Darwin that the case raises serious questions about aspects of Australia's legal system.

Mohamed Haneef was arrested and charged because he gave a mobile phone SIM card to a relative, who later launched a terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) drew on special laws that had never been used before to hold and question Dr Haneef without laying charges.

His lawyer, Stephen Keim, says these specials laws raise serious questions about human rights.

"Detention without charge for 12 days in respect to a case that was sufficiently without substance, to be discontinued at the behest of a Commonwealth Senior Prosecutor, raises questions about the minimal human right content of the law as it relates to criminal investigation," he said.

He says the secrecy surrounding the case went against the principles of justice.

Mr Keim says lawyers were afraid to give journalists even basic details about the case, which made it difficult for open and impartial justice.

"The legislation does not prescribe or proscribe open hearings, the hearings were however conducted in an air of secrecy such as the parties to the hearing felt constrained about telling journalists the identity of the magistrate hearing the case and making the orders," he said.


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Hicks media gag order ends
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