A fair trial?

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I’ve just read the news on the BBC website that Abu Qatada will not now be deported to Jordan for trial.  The Uk Governments position is that he will get a fair trial but the European Court is concerned whether this will actually be the case.

The Uk actually suggested to Jordan that he should be pardoned for convictions in absentia but not for the retrial arguing a retrial would be fairer. The court concerns are centred on a fair trial not on the potential outcome.  Not-with-standing the Uk Government and European Court opinions Qatada remains under lock and key as a threat to national security.

The Jordanian Governments position is that there is no risk of Qatada being tried and acquitted

In short in Jordan he is guilty, in the Uk he is a threat to national security, in the EU he should be tried (the implication being that there is enough evidence to suggest he could be guilty).  So… most people would suggest that he is a very dangerous person.  To the lay person all this legal stuff seems to be getting in the way of justice being done.

I’ve been to a lot of different places with a lot of different cultures.  Some cultures are less forgiving than others but all have one defining feature; The culture reflects the typical nature of the people.

I would expect that in some places that for example theft would be punished more harshly than in the Uk, I get it.  It’s just the way things are done in that country and who am I to challenge the way they do things.   Its their rules.  Seems to me that Qatada is wanted in Jordan, in-fact he’s been tried in Jordan and the evidence was so compelling that he was convicted when he wasnt even there.  Sounds simple but;

There is a suggestion that the evidence was from torture

Do our western sensibilities out weigh those of the Mid.East?  Are we the arbiters of true justice?  Do we really have a higher standard of fairness?

I don’t know.  But what I do think is that we should be very careful when trying to prevent nation states from exercising their will over their citizens.  We may not like the outcome, in fact we may hate the outcome but do we really have the right?

Here’s what I do think;

Abu Qatada and all violent extremists (including where appropriate government and government sponsored) should, must be dealt with for the good of human kind.  There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with having an opinion, even a hateful opinion, its how it’s expressed that’s the trouble.  I don’t propose torture, I hate the thought that torture has been used, is used, will be used, but neither am I stupid.  If the evidence is there, and its reliable enough then use it.  The role of Governments should be to persuade through reasoned argument and other non-violent persuasion to not use torture, oppression, coercion.

I think we live in a less than ideal world so we just have to make the best of it.  Where people are so dangerous they pose a threat to life they should be locked-up for ever, never let out, never to be trusted.  And the best place for that if you cannot trust where they came from is here, yes right here.  The expense?  We have to foot the bill, it’ll be a small cost compared to the alternative cost of havoc wreaked.  As for regimes that pose a threat to human kind, appeasement is not the way.  You’ve gotta be strong, be willing to tackle it right up front and if needed back-up what you’re saying with military might, it does work.


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