Trial of the Goulburn Nine

The Goulburn Nine were arrested in November 2005 in Sydney, as were the Barwon 13 in Melbourne. A big deal was made about them being the first local terrorist groups in Australia to face trial under the draconian new "anti-terror" laws.

Under the laws people face the prospect of lengthy sentences and convictions based on vague and circumstantial evidence.

After three years of prison in appalling conditions (Supermax in Goulburn Jail and similar conditions at Barwon), the men finally faced trial. The Melbourne trial finished in September with six people convicted of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The Sydney trial started on November 3 and originally involved only six of the accused. The other three are not part of the trial, and another of the accused was suddenly dropped on the trial's eve.

The Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group (CBPG) has been campaigning for a long time against the "war on terror". As part of this campaign, the group protested for the return of Mamdouh Habib, now a member of the group, and David Hicks from the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The CBPG is organising several different activities to highlight the issues surrounding the trial of the Goulburn Nine.

To raise awareness of the issues the CBPG organised a rally in Bankstown on October 18. Another will be held in Lakemba on December 6. There are also plans for a January Auburn rally. The rallies seek justice for Habib, who has faced ongoing harassment by the authorities; oppose the police harassment of young people; oppose the so-called anti-terrorism laws; call for an end to trial of the Goulburn Nine; and will demand that Australian troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan.

The CBPG has already held small protests at the Parramatta Court, and intends to keep holding these actions for the duration of the Goulburn Nine's trial, which is expected to last up to one year. A rally has also been organised outside Silverwater Jail on November 29 in solidarity with the prisoners and their families.

For more information phone Raul on 0403 037 376.

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