Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Terrorist downloads?

Article here.

Before you read my response, you might want to click the link and get a look at these guys.

The country's top judge has dealt a significant blow to a key plank of the Government's anti-terrorism legislation after he overturned the convictions of five Muslim men jailed last year for downloading and sharing extremist terror-related material.

The Lord Chief Justice ruled that unless there was clear evidence of "terrorist intent" it was not illegal to read or study such literature.

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, "a person commits an offence if he possesses an article in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism."

Prosecution lawyers have argued that simply obtaining and sharing extremist literature was an offence under the law.

I have investigated terrorist and extremist website because I wanted to see what the heck those crazys were talking about. Therefore, I have a hard time with the idea that simply accessing the material alone is enough to proceed with prosecution. It is a question of the amount of material, and a reasonable assumption about their intent. It is a slippery slope when you start criminalizing speech.

However, Lord Phillips ruled against this interpretation and said there had to be "a direct connection between the object possessed and the act of terrorism.''

Direct connection seems a bit strong. Indirect, unreasonably suspicious, etc would probably be better.

"Young people should not be frightened of exploring their world. There will always be people out there with wrong intentions, but we must not criminalise people for simply looking at material, whether it is good or bad."

In a statement, Mr Malik said: "It is a great thing to live in a country where the Lord Chief Justice takes the time from hearing important cases to see if a group of unknown students have been fairly convicted for reading the wrong kind of literature.

"As I said when I was arrested, I do not, have not and will not support terrorism in any form against innocent people."

Notice the last two words of his statement. Who does he define as innocent?

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