Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Due process

There are some things that a liberal democracy should hold inviolate.

No ifs.

No buts.

No questions.

One of those is the right of human beings to go about their business without politicians imprisoning them. A vital function of the judicial system is to take the politics out of the daily administration of justice.

'No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'

That was thought to be a good idea 210 years ago when the Bill of Rights was adopted by the United States. While we can't help the fact that the current President likes to ignore certain aspects of the Constitution, that's no excuse for us to follow suit. Other democratic countries have not felt the need to introduce imprisonment without due process and I don't feel inclined to follow the example of the Soviet Union, China or Saudi Arabia on matters of justice.

Internment in Northern Ireland didn't work, it just added to the feeling of persecution amongst the nationalist community and provided a ready supply of recruits for the cause. The last thing we need to do is to fuel disenchantment and anger amongst the Islamic community in this country, the vast majority of whom are decent, loyal citizens.

Where people are believed to have committed an offence, let's put the evidence before a jury and let's admit intercepted communications as evidence, as they are in other countries across the world.

In the long term, the answer to the generated paranoia is not locking up people on the say so of an elected minister, it is by investing time and effort in dealing with root causes. Sadly, the issue of liberty will overshadow the efforts made by this government to tackle global poverty and bring a lasting solution to the Palestinian problem.

3 comments:

john said...

On this occasion I agree with you.

PoliticalHack said...

See, that didn't hurt, did it?

There are some things I won't try and defend and this is one of them.

john said...

How do you know it didn't hurt.