Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pure French Hubris...

Pure French Hubris...

France's counterterrorism measures are not as enviable as suggested by gullible and tainted "pundits"... The nation's pre-emptive approach rests on a broadly defined offense of "criminal association in relation to a terrorist undertaking," which allows judges to order arrests and detain people on the basis of minimal evidence.

In jails, terrorism suspects are denied basic rights. They are not permitted to see a lawyer for three days and then only for 30 minutes, they are interrogated at all hours without a lawyer present, and they are not told they have the right to remain silent. All of this makes detainees particularly vulnerable to mistreatment.

In courtrooms, the accused are often unable to challenge intelligence material at the heart of the case - sometimes from third countries where torture is routine. Some are convicted on evidence establishing little more than that there was contact among certain people.

When the government is unable or unwilling to prosecute, it deports foreign citizens - who may have been born in France and lived there all their lives - following procedures that do not guarantee due process or adequately protect against the risk of torture or mistreatment in the countries that receive them.

On the street, many Muslims feel singled out and stigmatized. In the long run, abusive counterterrorism measures are counterproductive because they undermine confidence in public authorities and alienate the very communities whose cooperation is so vital in countering violent extremism.