Unlawful state

2009-04-06 00:00

IN 2005 Khalid Rashid disappeared from a house in Estcourt, to re-emerge months later in a court in Pakistan. Some of the men responsible for his abduction apparently spoke with foreign accents. Last week the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Rashid’s detention and deportation were unlawful.

He was liable for arrest because he was an illegal immigrant using fraudulent documents. But his imprisonment at Cullinan police station was not legalised by a warrant issued by an immigration official. Then he was flown out of the country from an airfield that was not a

designated point of departure, again without proper authority.

Rashid possibly possessed information about al-Qaeda operations in eastern Afghanistan. Certainly, his fate had all the hallmarks of a Western intelligence operation. But the court did not declare Rashid’s disappearance a disguised extradition violating human rights. Disappointingly, it missed the boat, failing to assert South Africa’s sovereignty.

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