Friday, 9 November 2007

Our comrades are free - but keep up the fight!

The terror charges against the “Urewera Seventeen” have been dropped, and most if not all of them appear to have won bail. But this isn’t the end of the fight. We have to keep up the pressure to make sure this abuse of police authority never happens again. The police and the police sympathisers in the government and media are already starting their spin campaign. Their own Solicitor-General has admitted that the current terror laws are “incoherent”. But incredibly, some politicians and media figures are saying that the fact that these political activists are out on bail pending trial shows that the law should be tougher - rather than that it should have never been used in the first place. Despite what we’re told about the role of the courts and “innocent until proven guilty”, the word of a policeman is good enough to convince these prominent leaders about who needs to be locked up. That runs contrary to everything that we’re taught a democracy should look like. Police Commissioner Howard Broad has said in the media that the problem with everyday law like the Crimes Act or the Arms Act is that they can’t be used before a potential crime has been committed or is even in its planning stages. So Commisioner Broad wants terror laws to give police the power to arrest people who have done nothing and are planning nothing. When a senior policeman talks like that, everyone who believes in liberty of conscience or expression should be worried. This kind of “pre-emptive policing” sounds like something from a science fiction movie. Unlike in the Spielberg film Minority Report, though, the cops won’t be acting on the basis of information from psychics. They will be acting on their own personal prejudices and willingness to believe in an imaginary “terrorist threat”. No thoughtcrime Helen Clark is going around saying that these are “serious” charges remaining under the Arms Act. But it’s well known that some of those on firearms charges aren’t accused of firing or even owning an unlicenced gun - but simply being in the same room as someone who was holding an unlicenced gun. If that information got out further, this attempt to sow mass panic about a “terrorist evil in our midst” would be stopped in its tracks. The basis of terror laws is what George Orwell called “thoughtcrime” - that police should have the right to punish people who are even considering acting in a certain way. Those who support terror laws want to make it illegal for people to even think about acting against the State - a threat to not just Pakeha anarchists or Tuhoe nationalists, but everyone who doesn’t have faith that “our own” government, army and police are right all the time about everything. The Terror Laws must be abolished - before they are used against any of us who doesn’t shut up and do what they’re told. We need to build the biggest possible political movement against these anti-democratic laws - and the corporate politicians in Labour and National who support them.

'For freedom fighters around the country', says Tame Iti

Friday November 09, 2007 By Edward Gay

Freed Tuhoe activist Tame Iti thanked his supporters in emotional scenes outside the Auckland High Court this evening.

After beating terror charges yesterday, Iti was released on bail from the Auckland High Court just after 5pm this evening.

"It's for freedom fighters all around the country. Thank you for your support," Iti told his followers.

Earlier, Justice Cooper approved his bail amid scenes of high excitement from Tuhoe supporters.

Iti and four others, who were also released on bail, will return to the Auckland District Court on December 3.

The five are facing firearms charges following the Solicitor-General David Collins' decision yesterday not to allow police to bring terrorism charges against any of the 'Urewera 16'.

The accused had their bail hearings heard in two groups with four people - Valerie Morse, Emily Bailey, Omar Hamed and a Swiss national who has name suppression - receiving bail, before Iti entered the dock.

Iti then received a separate bail hearing and was awarded bail.

The decisions sparked scenes of jubilation in the court, forcing Justice Cooper to remind the public that his courtroom was not a place for such scenes.

Their successful bail application followed that of a co-accused, 38-year-old Whiri Kemara, who was bailed this morning.

In a dramatic afternoon, all members of the public and the media were asked to leave the courtroom while the crown prosecutor presented secret police evidence in relation to the bail application against the accused to the court.

Justice Cooper said that the five accused faced charges under the Arms Act which carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison and up to $5000 in fines.

1 comment:

XxX said...

Video of Tame Iti released on bail:

Also David Farrier, 3 News, interviews Marama Mayrick who was another arrested in the "anti-terror" raids.

These people are not terrorists!!