Australian judge tells police that Muslims still have rights
Mon Nov 12, 12:50 AM ET
SYDNEY (AFP) – A judge told Australian intelligence and police officers on Monday that a student they pursued over terrorism charges still had rights whether he was “Muslim or not”.
Prosecutors dropped the case against Izhar Ul-Haque after Judge Michael Adams ruled that police interviews with him were inadmissible due to the conduct of the officers.
Ul-Haque had been accused of receiving weapons and combat training from the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Toiba during a visit to Pakistan in 2003.
Adams said one Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officer had committed “the crime of false imprisonment and kidnap at common law.”
Officers were also accused of unjustified and unlawful interference with Ul-Haque’s personal liberty as well as unlawful trespass at his family home.
“It was a gross interference by the agents of the state with the accused’s legal rights as a citizen, rights which he still has whether he be suspected of criminal conduct or not, and whether he is Muslim or not,” Adams said.
Ul-Haque’s lawyer Adam Houda, speaking outside the Supreme Court of New South Wales state where the judge made his comments, condemned what he said had been a “moronic prosecution”.
“From the beginning, this was no more than a show trial designed to justify the billions of dollars spent on counter-terrorism,” he said.
“It has been one bungled prosecution after another.”
Houda compared the case to that of Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef, who had his visa cancelled after he was linked to British car bombings earlier this year. Charges against Haneef were ultimately dropped.