Australia - Ban urged to cut Death Penalty risk.

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Post  Jennie on Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:08 pm


Ban urged to cut death penalty risk

POLICE should be banned from giving information to authorities in another country if it could lead to Australians being condemned to death, a parliamentary committee has warned.

The move by the cross-party Treaties Committee follows the outcry over the Bali 9 affair where the Australian Federal Police passed on information that helped Indonesian police to arrest Australians, some of whom were then condemned to death.

The committee said the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act required the Government to refuse a request for assistance from another country that might lead to the death penalty unless the Attorney-General or the Minister for Home Affairs believed that help should be granted for a particular reason.

It said information passed on through general police-to-police contact could have the same effect.

The committee said that in some countries successful drug trafficking investigations were very likely to result in the death penalty.

The issue arose during the committee's examination of a new agreement on mutual assistance with the United Arab Emirates.

The committee noted that Australia had memorandums of understanding on co-operation on counterterrorism activities with 13 countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey.

"The texts of these memoranda of understanding are all security classified and not in the public domain," it said.

"The committee remains concerned that information shared lawfully through police-to-police assistance or other intelligence and security co-operation arrangements may result in the imposition of the death penalty."

The committee also wants the government to institute a tracking system to maintain contact with anyone extradited from Australia to another country.

Committee chairman Kelvin Thompson said it was not good enough for Australia to extradite people and simply wash its hands of them.

"If someone disappears or dies in custody after we send them overseas, people are going to want to know about that."

A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Government would consider the committee's recommendations in due course, in the context of the rights of individuals and national security.

(source: The Age)

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