[Marxism] In support of Australian democracy
clintonf at optusnet.com.au
Mon Apr 11 03:23:49 MDT 2005
Australia is one of the oldest continuing parliamentary democracies.
The Jack Thomas case has important implications for the health of this system.
In this connection, a need has arisen for people to endorse a petition, details of which are below.
PETITION: Drop the charges against Jack Thomas
To: Philip Ruddock, Attorney General
To: Damian Bugg, Director of Public Prosecutions
We, the undersigned, believe that torture is an inherent evil that
brutalizes both its victims and the society that condones it, and that
a civilized legal system should reject evidence obtained through
physical or psychological torture or duress, both because such
testimony is necessarily unreliable and because its acceptance
encourages further maltreatment. We therefore demand that the
Australian government, in the case of Jack Thomas, drop any charges
reliant on records of interviews conducted under duress without the
presence of a lawyer.
Please circulate this message widely.
The Justice for Jack Campaign is currently seeking endorsements from
groups and individuals in an effort to raise the profile and spread
awareness of the plight of my brother Jack Thomas, who faces 50 years
in prison under the Australian government's so-called "anti-terror"
legislation. This is in spite of him already being detained for 5
months in a Pakistani jail in 2003 only to be released without charge.
It is our belief that Jack's case has potentially dire implications for
human rights and civil liberties in Australia.
According to the prosecution, the case against him stands or falls on
the basis of a single interview conducted in Pakistan by the Australian
Federal Police during which he was denied the opportunity to have a
lawyer present in spite of his request for one. Normally such evidence
would be inadmissible before an Australian court. Psychiatric
evaluations have since backed-up Jack's claims of torture by various
agencies in the months leading up to that interview. Should Jack be
found guilty on the basis of such evidence, it would set an appalling
precedent and help erode the kind of civil liberties a free society
depends upon to protect the rights of its citizens.
In order to help protect these civil liberties, we are asking people to
sign the attached petition which asks the Director of Public
Prosecutions Damian Bugg and the Attorney General Philip Ruddock not to
proceed with any charges based on evidence obtained in part or in whole
through torture and/or duress, without the presence of a lawyer.
We are also asking prominent individuals and organisations to endorse
the Justice for Jack Campaign. Your endorsement would add weight to the
campaign and allow us to get our message out to broader layers of
people. Names will be used on publicity material to promote events and
put onto our website to show that, in spite of someone like Jack being
portrayed as a terrorist in the media, there are still many people and
organisations who are willing to take a stand for human rights and
I have attached a fact sheet to familiarise you with the critical
points around Jack's case. We would be most grateful if you could meet
one or both of our requests. Should you have any further queries, don't
hesitate to contact me on the details below. You can also speak to
Jack's lawyer Rob Stary on (03) 9687 7444.
Justice for Jack Campaign
0409 399 429
ltho5399 at bigpond.net.au
JUSTICE FOR JACK CAMPAIGN
Jack Thomas faces 50 years in jail under the Howard government's
Thomas is charged with receiving money from a terrorist organisation
and providing support to a terrorist organisation, namely Al-Qaeda. He
is also charged with possessing a false passport.
The Crown case relies upon a single AFP (Australian Federal Police)
interview taken in March 2003 when Jack was detained in Pakistan for 5
months without charge.
Jack was denied the right to a lawyer during his detention in Pakistan
in spite of repeated requests.
The Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914, Part 1C, requires that persons be
given the right to communicate with a legal practitioner before and
Thomas had been back in Australia for 17 months before he was arrested
on November 18, 2004. Witnesses for the AFP have said he was under
constant surveillance in this period and was not found doing anything
unlawful. His phones were bugged and listening devices were used
Jack told ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) officers
in Pakistan he had been tortured by the CIA and ISI (Pakistan Secret
Service). His claims of torture have been corroborated by Professor
Patrick McGorry, a psychiatrist with 18 years experience in working
with torture victims.
Australian courts are required to exclude confessions obtained under
torture or duress because of their inherent unreliability.
The Justice for Jack Campaign is concerned about the denial of Jack's
basic rights. In particular, we are concerned about the use of evidence
obtained under torture and duress and the denial of Jack's right to a
lawyer. On this basis, we have called upon the Director of Public
Prosecutions to withdraw the charges against Jack Thomas (please see
the petition attached). We fear that it may set a harmful precedent
that could see further violations of human rights and civil rights in
To add name return email to Les Thomas <ltho5399 at bigpond.net.au>
More information about the Marxism