Another Hicks/civil-right bashing

Gerard Henderson takes up arms against the defense of habeus corpus and the right of innocence before proof of guilt, in the Sydney Morning Herald, again. Apparently, the people asking for a fair trial are now those responsible for his continuing incarceration, and Henderson is surprised that people care for his rights. Gerard – if you can’t prove a case against him in a court of law, let him go, otherwise no-one will reasonably complain that he’s in jail. I don’t see that Guatanamo Bay is staffed by Amnesty International – it’s not any civil rights body that’s responsible for his incarceration.

Henderson quotes from a letter from Hicks to his father from Kashmir. stating that he was staying with the Pakistan army and shooting across the border, and Henderson implies that this proves that Hicks was some sort of dangerous killer who deserves to be locked up for attempted murder.

“Every night there is an exchange of fire. I got to fire hundreds of rounds … There are not many countries in the world where a tourist … can go and stay with the army and shoot across the border at its enemy, legally.”

What does Henderson think is meant by the word legally? Apart from the fact that the actual legality might not be what Hicks thought it was, Henderson has to prove that something is illegal, not just condemn Hicks for shooting at people in a theatre of war. Anyway, what Hicks did in Kashmir certainly has no direct bearing on the stated reasons for his incarceration. There was no American troop involvement in Kashmir, and no way that Hick’s actions there directly threatened any US lives.

Next, Henderson appears to conflate the holding of strict Islamic beliefs and quoting of poetry with terrorism. Someone can believe in a thing without committnig a crime. Almost any one line of poetry can be taken out of context, and there are lots of violent imagery in Western poets. All religions are guilty to some extent, of redicalising their supporters. Does all this equate to a reason for keeping someone in prison without trial for several years? Not in my book.

Finally, we get a few paragraphs about someone else. Why this is presented as a reason to not sympathise with Hicks, I don’t know. The whole article is much of a hatchet job, and I find it amazing to see the lengths people will go to deflect valid criticisms of locking someone up without giving them a fair trial. Unlike Gerard Henderson, I don’t think that it’s fair to condemn people out of hand for the company they keep, and I want to give them a chance to prove themselves before I judge them.

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