Shock horror – Ruddock protects free speech rights

Ruddock has stood up for the rights of Whorestralians against the United Stupids! Team Rodent may be so keen to make up poll losses that they are saying something right (read electorally popular) for a change.

A plea deal condition that prevents David Hicks speaking to the media for 12 months would not be enforceable in Australia, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says.

Mr Ruddock said Australia had no law making it a crime for Hicks to talk, and the United States would only be able to act on a plea bargain breach if Hicks came “within their reach”.

But for Australia to agree to an extradition, a charge similar to the one laid overseas must exist under Australian law, Mr Ruddock said.

“In Australia, we have a position about freedom of speech,” Mr Ruddock told ABC’s Lateline program.

“I’ll leave it to your imagination as to a way in which somebody seeking extradition in relation to a party for breaching a so-called gag order would be able to be delivered up through the judicial processes in Australia.”

Asked if the gag order meant nothing, and Hicks would be able to speak to the media, Mr Ruddock responded: “I suspect you are probably right”.

Mr Ruddock said the United States included the clause in the plea bargain and it was a matter for the United States, Hicks and his advisers.

“I don’t think it’s a matter for us to enforce,” he said.

Will the gobblement still be able to grab Hicks’ story proceeds if the US Supreme Court declares the kangaroo court under which he was “sentenced” null and void at some time in the future? At the time of his arrest, Hicks had not broken any Whorestralian laws.

Although prisoners in Oz jails can’t hold press conferences, if he was released pursuant to the above, Hicks may become a *very* rich fellow from the telling of his sorry tale sooner rather than later. Perhaps there would also be a potential for an action against the US government for unlawful imprisonment and maltreatment. Sadly, on the 2 April, despite the dissent of 3 judges, the US Supreme Court did not uphold the habeas corpus rights of two convicted defendants.

Hicks is to pursue his education during his Australian jail term. It would be deliciously ironic if he decided on a legal career.

1 comment to Shock horror – Ruddock protects free speech rights

  • Victorian attorney-general Jim Kennan, now an adjunct professor of law at Deakin University commented today that

    the tribunal’s decisions would not hold up in Australian courts anyway.

    There is a lot of argument that is mounting to say that this was just a sham proceeding and not the sort of proceeding an Australian court would be prepared to rely on.