Thursday, January 18, 2007

Erwin Cotler on Shoaib Choudhury

Irwin Cotler, MP and ex-Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, is a major human rights lawyer who has acted on behalf of Nelson Mandela, Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and Saad Edin Ibrahim. He is now representing, though I'm not sure in what capacity, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, whose trial starts next week.

Cotler has an article in the Jerusalem Post giving the background and detailing Choudhury's legal position. In most countries, there wouldn't even be a trial. Even at home, his one 'crime', attempting to travel to a country not recognised by Bangladesh, would normally have earned him an $8 fine. That wasn't good enough for the Islamists seeking complete power, and they are determined to convict him of treason and sedition despite the complete lack of what you or I would call evidence.

Cotler also lists the 12 ways in which Choudhury's rights have been violated.

a. the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty;
b. the right not to be arbitrarily arrested and detained;
c. the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the nature of the charge, and the right to a prompt appearance before a judge to challenge the lawfulness of arrest and detention;
d. the prohibition against torture and the right to humane conditions during detention;
e. the right to protection against coercive interrogation;
f. the right of access to legal counsel;
g. the right to equal access to, and equality before, the courts;
h. the right to a fair hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law;
i. the right to freedom of religion and conscience;
j. the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press;
k. the right to freedom of association and assembly; and
l. the right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave and re-enter the country.

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