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Australia proposes its own version of control orders

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:21 pm on 23 October, 2005.
Categories political liberties, democracy and the rule of law.
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The Australian reports that the Australian government is proposing its own version of control orders:

UP to 80 Australian Muslims could immediately be placed under effective house arrest under the Government’s proposed anti-terror laws.

The laws mean they could each be required to wear tracking devices, or prevented from working, or using the telephone or internet, or communicating with certain people.

For the first time, the laws will cover the estimated 80 Australians who have received or provided training with a listed terrorist organisation before 2002.

Previously, the Government has had no effective powers over these people, almost all of whom are Muslims, because laws prohibiting training with terrorist groups came into force only in July 2002 and were not retrospective.

However, under the proposed new laws, such people can be subjected to tough so-called control orders if authorities still believe they pose a security risk.

The provisions, which until now have escaped public scrutiny, are aimed at helping authorities monitor people who have trained with terror groups and are still deemed to pose a potential risk.

However, they will anger critics of the laws, who will argue they can be misused to “heavy” anyone purely on the basis that they have had past links with groups that are now illegal.

The Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network slammed the proposed laws yesterday as “a backdoor way to limit the freedoms of people who can’t be found guilty of a crime”.

The laws will apply to anyone who has trained overseas with any of the 17 banned terror groups, including al-Qa’ida, Jemaah Islamiah, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Abu Sayyaf and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The intent of the law is that authorities leave these people alone if it is considered they no longer pose a security risk.

But if they are deemed to be a threat, the Government can impose a wide range of restrictions on their freedoms.

These include requiring that a person be fingerprinted and photographed and that they report to specific places at specific times. They may be fitted with a tracking device and banned from going to certain places or speaking with certain people or groups. They may also be banned from working or from using the internet or leaving Australia.

(Lead from Samizdata).

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