Who is the Enemy?
The Guardian runs yet another report on "secret" CIA prisons in Europe. "It revealed that Abu Zubaydah, believed to be a senior al-Qaida member, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, were held and interrogated in Poland. None of the prisoners had access to the Red Cross and many were subjected to what George Bush has called the CIA's 'enhanced' interrogation, which critics have condemned as torture."
The Magistrate's Blog raises this hypothetical.
Take the (unlikely) case that one of the CIA's aircraft has to make an emergency landing at a small airfield that happens to be in your jurisdiction. Take the (even more unlikely) case that the people who are taken from the by-now burning aeroplane find themselves in the hands of the local police. Some of them appear to be prisoners, and are in chains. By chance, a determined local solicitor is in the police station and he immediately takes legal steps to bring them before magistrates with a view to their release. ... What, as a member of the judiciary, would you do?
Many of the commenters would let the terrorist suspect go and charge the CIA escorts. One sample answer:
The worst possible penalty you could legally apply would surely be for them to be held without charge for 28 days, sent to prison for entering the country illegally (which would be very unfair yet probably be seen by the defendant as a great mercy), and deported. Meanwhile, the CIA guys could probably be charged with abduction at the very least.
Now here's my own hypothetical. Suppose someone accused of killing 3,000 British civilians was being transported by MI-6 under the 90 day pre-charge detention provision of the British Terrorism Act of 2006, crashlanded in your country. What should the judges do?