Monday, July 16, 2007

Enemy Characters

In an act from what is hopefully the last throes of the John Howard era, the Australian government has decided to override the bail granted to London/Glasgow bombing suspect Mohamed Haneef and keep him in detention on the ground that he "failed the character test" expected of an immigrant. It's not clear what normal bail would be in Australia but it looks like the presiding Queensland judge didn't think a whole lot of the case against Haneef in setting it at A$10,000, an amount that is now moot.

So far the entire case relies on Haneef having loaned his second cousin a SIM card on the plausible basis that he was leaving the UK (two years ago) and it had a good rate plan. The continued detention will of course be subject to a legal challenge, not least because if it allowed stand, it would be a backdoor route to Gitmo-style indefinite detentions, at least where immigrants are concerned.

UPDATE 29 JULY: The case against Haneef has completely unravelled, and John Howard discovers the cost of using George Bush as a role model in the war on terror.

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