[Marxism] In support of Australian democracy

Clinton Fernandes 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.

Dear friend,

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 
civil liberties.

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.

Kind regards,

Les Thomas

Melbourne, Australia
Justice for Jack Campaign
0409 399 429
ltho5399 at bigpond.net.au



Jack Thomas faces 50 years in jail under the Howard government's 
anti-terrorism laws.

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 
during questioning.

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>

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