ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Responses to terror: Haneef as Symbol

The failed Glasgow bombings, the subsequent arrest, detention and trial of the Indian doctor, Mohammed Haneef, now in Australian custody have drawn India into the networks spawned by global terrorism since September 2001, its effects as well as the new responses terrorism also evokes. The known facts about Mohammed Haneef’s detention on charges filed by the Australian Federal Police and immigration authorities leave much in the realm of the “unknown”. His “solitary confinement”, as per his status as a terror suspect, is based largely on what the Australian government claims was his providing “reckless support” – in the form of a SIM card – to his two cousins, the prime Glasgow suspects. That providing a SIM card can be considered a crime is far-fetched though the Australian authorities claim there is much of Haneef that has been deliberately kept out of the public domain. Leaks of his interrogation also suggest that far from being a terrorist out to hide his actions Haneef has been eager to cooperate with the authorities because he has no crime to hide.

In end September 2001, the UN security council had adopted resolution 1373 calling on member states that did not have laws criminalising terrorist activity to adopt and implement such laws immediately. However, since the US launched “war on terror” in Afghanistan, first the US and then other countries have attempted to overreach UN set norms, with their own terrorism laws seeking to regulate treatment of “terror suspects”. A common legal aspect in such laws is the leeway it allows investigative agencies to arrest and detain any individual deemed a terror suspect unless proven otherwise; the latter are also denied basic rights such as access to communication and legal representation. Such laws have indubitably trampled on individual freedoms and civic liberties, enforced stricter identification norms and considerably expanded the scope of official intervention.

Dear reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top