Given the secrecy surrounding Madni's capture in Jakarta and handover to the CIA, it is reasonable to assume he is not the only alleged terrorist to have been placed in the custody of U.S. officials and taken to a third country for interrogation, where the absence of civil rights and U.S. legal protections could afford interrogators more freedom. Soon after the article on Madni appeared in The Weekend Australian, The Washington Post ran an article suggesting there were other cases of individuals being detained by the CIA and sent to countries where interrogation could be more easily carried out. The subject justifies further inquiry. Without the guilt of suspects having been legally ascertained, detentions are clearly open to abuse. How long will suspects be held and on what grounds? What restraint exists on the conduct of the interrogations? These are questions of interest to civil libertarians everywhere, particular in countries where non-democratic rulers could use the crackdown on terrorism as a means of sidelining critics.
The Weekend Australian article also sought to highlight the performance of the Indonesian authorities in dealing with the threat of terrorism. The absence of adequate law enforcement and the lack of co-ordination between law enforcement agencies, the weakness of immigration controls and the reluctance of the government to take legal action against extremist elements who have broken the law continue to make Indonesia vulnerable to entry by international terrorists. Madni's success in entering Indonesia is seen as evidence of this weakness. But a consistent concern of pro-democracy groups in Indonesia is whether many of the hard won civil freedoms of the past four years could be eroded as Jakarta comes under pressure to improve its contribution to fighting potential terrorist threats.
-- Don Greenlees
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