Ex-Guantanamo detainee's lawsuit could challenge Australian secrecy laws

[JURIST] A lawsuit by former Australian Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib [BBC profile] against the Australian government could become the first court challenge to new security secrecy laws passed in 2004 [text]. Australian prosecutors say that some of the evidence used in any trial of Habib's case may be secret, but Justice Rodney Madgwick noted in a preliminary hearing Tuesday that this could raise the constitutional issue of whether a designation by Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock - also the defendant in Habib's case - could be challenged in court. In particular it appears that the laws might be deemed overbroad, as they allow for the "mere presence" of a certain witness to be a national security issue.

Habib was detained in 2001 Pakistan, Egypt, and Afghanistan, before being held at Guantanamo Bay for three years, where the US accused him of aiding terrorist militants. He was never charged by the US and was eventually released in 2005. The Sydney Morning Herald has more.

 

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