Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Basic Human Rights of the Accused

In today's Toronto Star, there was an article that published some of the testimony made public by a lawyer of one of the accused members of a terrorist cell. They were arrested on Saturday, June 3rd. What he's telling the public is very disturbing.

Firstly, the plans that his client had of bombing certain buildings in Toronto (CBC building), and beheading the Canadian PM, Harper, are chilling. The thought that 13 tons of amonium nitrate being used to create bombs, to amass 13 times the impact of the Oklahoma Bombings here in my hometown is nothing short of terrifying. It is only beginning to sink in for me.

Having said all that, I also learned from this article that the accused are not being treated justly as per their basic human rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I strongly believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. And so far, it seems like all of the accused are guilty, but are they all guilty to the same degree? Some of the accused are adolescents, which leads me to question how much involvement they had in this plot. From masterminds, to trainers, to trainees; their roles are different and the severity of their actions should also be different.

I don't know if the law makes that distinction, but I strongly believe that if we are to prosecute the accused, we should do it right. Even if they all turn out to be equally guilty in the end, the process by which we establish that conclusion is just as important as the end result.

Without a just process, how can we continue to have faith in the integrity of the system?

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