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The Forum > Article Comments > Lives that become soap operas > Comments

Lives that become soap operas : Comments

By Lindsay Tanner, published 10/1/2006

Lindsay Tanner argues Australians need to learn to respect the laws of other countries.

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Mr. Tannerís final paragraph says all that needs to be said, and even though many donít seem to agree that Australians and other foreigners should not be treated in, say Singapore, exactly the way citizens of the country are treated, that is what happens and that is what should happen.

However, in comparing the cases of ordinary criminals like Corby and Nguyen with terror suspect and known associate of terrorists, David Hicks, Mr. Tanner loses his way.

Mr. Tanner overlooks the principles he sets out in his final paragraph. Hicks was captured and incarcerated by America. Therefore he is subject to American jurisdiction, not Australian.

Hicks has not received much sympathy from Australians, and the Government has repeatedly refused to interfere. That is because, unlike Mr. Tanner, most Australians see a great difference between a suspected terrorist and criminals who, to them, have received sentences they believe to be well out of proportion to their misdeeds. They see terrorists as a much bigger threat to humanity than criminals, even drug smugglers.

Therefore, whether or not people sympathise with Corby and Nguyen, it is only the anti-America, Howard-hating brigade who make any fuss about Hicks. Hicks is not seen to have any rights at all. True, he hasnít yet come to trial (he almost did at one stage, but his defence team were not ready after all the time he had been held and they had the trial delayed), but there is enough information of his training, brandishing weapons, and letters written by him in the public arena to indicate that he has no sympathy due to him.

Comparing lawbreakers, who have clear rights under law, with terrorists for whom laws are still evolving because they are a new threat, will not wash with level headed people
Posted by Leigh, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 10:44:50 AM
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Mr Tanner.

I appreciate your article. I watch Online Opinion basically for articles relating to this subject.

I cannot disagree with your comments - or Leigh's about David Hicks -but the situation goes way further than that regarding any foreigner of any nationality who is incarcerated in any country whether rightly or wrongly. They deserve recognition and support.

Please refer to the case of Nick Baker incarcerated in Japan and the website http://www.justicefornickbaker.org/index.shtml
and the Foreign Prisoners Support Service website where many people are currently incarcerated and not well publicised.
http://www.usp.com.au/fpss/index.html

It is a complex issue. Basically one of Human Rights. See United Nations website and Amnesty International. But most certainly one which I think "some thinking people" are becoming aware of. Gradually. In the case of our Australian citizens I believe that the government could and should have been/can be - more proactive in using the option of "trade agreements". Had more Australians been informed of the ramifications of same then I believe more pressure could have been applied in the case of Schapelle Corby and Van Tuong.

This, because I believe that citizens in these other countries do not have the option to do so (as we do) because of their political structure/s -yet we do - and should exercise same.

G. Williams
Posted by windyliz, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 11:28:25 AM
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If Hicks had become a British citizen before going on his "adventure" with the Taliban he would not be in prison. He would be a free man living in England.

Hicks was not captured by Americans, he was captured by Afghans. He is being held in Cuba to avoid American Law. Australian troops were also in Afghanistan yet we let America incarcerate suspects on our behalf.

Hicks's trial was delayed in November 2004 when the US Federal Court ruled that Commissions were neither competent nor lawful, not because his defence team was not ready.

The picture of Hicks with a weapon was taken in Albania when he was training with the KLA and backed by the US Army.

Hicks may very well be a dangerous man who needs to be locked up, but to keep him in a military prison for more than 3 years without trial is wrong and for people to remove his right to a fair trial with adequate rules of evidence is also wrong.
Posted by Steve Madden, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 1:30:53 PM
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Steve,

As I recall it was only a few months ago that by a chance comment to one of his lawyers that David may have been able to regain UK citizenship by virtue of his birthright - the first time he became aware of it. Or mentioned to his lawyer.

I believe there have been various "legal arguments" pertaining to same since that time. (UK citizenship).

I reiterate - any person - of whatever nationality - has the right to a fair and just trial in whatever country they may be incarcerated in.

Within the last 48 hours I saw an article on one of the major news sites either here (Australia) or BBC (or USA which I doubt) that Hicks is facing a "kangaroo court". I think it may have been BBC. Not sure.

Whatever - it does not appear as if it is going to be a fair and just trial. And that is against the statute of United Nations and Amnesty International and needs to be brought to the attention of the world arena who often become apathetic after such a long time of a trial commencing.

There have been news reports of our Prime Minister, Mr Howard and Mr Bush having, I believe, discussions about this situation. To what outcome I am not immediately aware. Although I am sure they are documented on google.

The link below will give you more information.

http://www.usp.com.au/fpss/prisoners.html

So as not to go "off topic" we all need to pay much more attention to any detainees in any country and the surrounding circumstances and do whatever we can to help them and their families. While at the same time pursuing other avenues of assistance. eg Government.
Posted by windyliz, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 2:10:45 PM
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I have noted and reinforce the comment that Mr Tanner "lost his way when comparing Nuygen, Corby and Hicks, in the same package".

David Hicks is a political prisoner and also an advertised prisoner of the system of American Retribution. He is a warning to all those who Oppose or Join a Terrorist Organisation.

The others are simply criminals, whether genuine or not, who have been punished for a crime against the Nation which holds them accountable for actions which are against the Law within the Territories of Indonesia/Singapore.

David Hicks was caught fighting for the Taliban and so be it. He is now subject to American control of his destiny. The Law is looking like it may win this one eventually. And so it should.

David being tried for crimes against America etc. will be a triumph for the Law makers of this world. Whether the trial will be a Fair Trial or not will determine how the World views American Law in the future.

Helen Treloar Duggin
Posted by HELEN DUGGIN, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 2:38:54 PM
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If people break the laws of countries, they should be prepared to accept the punishment of those laws.
The Bali drug smugglers would have known Indonesia's laws. There is doubt about Corby, Hicks was looking for adventure...he found it.
Australian law is too soft particularly on drugs.
Australians should have a referendum on capital punishment.
Posted by mickijo, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 2:48:45 PM
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