AS THE Law Council of Australia (LCA), the national body representing the legal profession, decries the treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib, the country’s top law officer has informed the Australian public that Habib remains of interest in a security context.
The LCA last week criticised the Australian Government for allowing the indefinite detention of Habib “for three years without charges or regular review”. Habib has every right, according to the Council, “to feel abandoned by his Government and appalled by his treatment”.
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced last week that the US Government had advised it does not intend to bring charges against Habib. The Australian Government, in light of this news, requested that Habib be repatriated to Australia, arguing as well that the US subsequently agreed to this request.
But, because of “his former associations and activities”, Habib remains of interest in a security context, Ruddock said. “Because of this interest, relevant agencies will undertake appropriate measures,” he added, although he did not expand on what these “measures” might include, nor does he intend to, “consistent with long standing practice”.
See ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ by Law Council of Australia president Stephen Southwood QC on page 10 of this week’s Lawyers Weekly.