Australia top court upholds control order against terror suspect

[JURIST] The High Court of Australia [official website] upheld an interim control order against Joseph Terrence Thomas [advocacy website] Thursday, accepting the government's argument [JURIST report] and ruling that the control order provision of a controversial anti-terror law [ANS backgrounder] is constitutional because it is supported by the government's "defense power" [judgment]. Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official website] welcomed the ruling, saying on ABC Radio [media website] that the ruling puts the anti-terror laws "beyond doubt."

Thomas, who was detained in Pakistan in 2003, was initially convicted [JURIST report] of receiving funds from an al Qaeda associate, but successfully appealed [JURIST report; judgment] the conviction in August 2006 because authorities interviewed Thomas against his will and denied him access to a lawyer. The Australian government then imposed a control order [JURIST report], which Thomas appealed [JURIST report] last October. Section 51(vi) [text] of the Australian constitution gives the parliament the authority to enact laws for the "control of forces to execute and maintain the laws of the Commonwealth." AAP has more.

 

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