While one wouldn’t make a comparison between Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf and John Howard or Philip Ruddock, or even the UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, they all have one thing in common — they each think that the judiciary and lawyers get in the way of the fight against terrorism.

Musharraf reportedly told diplomats yesterday that he took the action he did to impose martial law over the weekend because certain decisions by the judiciary “created impediments in the fight against terrorism”. In other words, the Pakistani judges had found some backbone and were ensuring that individual rights and liberties were not obliterated in the name of the war on terror.

Last week Gordon Brown’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was bemoaning the fact that the House of Lords found that a preventative detention order imposed on a terror suspect that required him to stay at home for 18 hours each day was a breach of human rights. “I am disappointed that they have found against control orders containing 18-hour curfews, which I feel was required to protect national security,” said Smith last Thursday.

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John Howard and Philip Ruddock and their media cheer squad, led by The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen have fulminated against judges and lawyers who dare to advocate for fairness and justice in cases involving terror suspects. Ditto Kevin Andrews who simply ignored Brisbane magistrate Jacqui Payne’s considered decision to grant Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef bail in June.

Speaking of Albrechtsen, no doubt President Musharraf would endorse every word of her rantings in The Oz about activist judges. Her latest bizarre writings on the topic, published October 31, have her musing that a Rudd government might appoint judges who believe in human rights having a central role in the law! She breates Victoria’s Court of Appeal President Chris Maxwell for being “rather keen on bringing nebulous notions of human rights and international law into his courtroom wherever possible.” How appalling. As I said, President Musharraf would enjoy her writings.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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