USA PATRIOT Act
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Terrorism is a major security threat facing many countries today. Initially, terrorism had no great effect on the policies of the nations. However, this changed dramatically with the bombings of the United States by the terrorists in 2001. The 9/11 US bombings have greatly influenced the policies of the nations. Virtually all security policies implemented after 9/11 incorporate anti-terrorism actions in their clauses. The impact of terrorism in the USA heightened by the bombings of the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the pentagon in Washington in 2001 called for a drastic action on terrorism. Ever since, the USA government and other continental countries have enacted legislation aimed at curbing terrorism. The legislations impose severe punishments to people suspected of being involved in terrorism. The USA government thus enacted the USA Patriot Act to improve security in its area of jurisdiction, and anti-terrorism acts abused by the implementing authorities lead to the mistreatment of innocent citizens. The acronym USA PATRIOT Act stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act (Ball, 2004).
In the United States, the USA PATRIOT Act, one of the various anti-terrorism Acts enacted after 9/11, gave the federal law enforcement agencies greater authority in gathering and sharing evidence with emphasis on the wire and electronic communication. The Act also creates new federal crimes and increases the penalties for existing crimes that relate to terrorism. In addition, the Act modifies immigration laws to combat terrorism more effectively (Ewing & Doyle, 2005).
The USA PATRIOT Act has been used in determining the guilt of many people, suspected of involvement in terrorism activities. However, there are instances where the USA PATRIOT Act has been wrongly interpreted in incarcerating individuals suspected of engagement in terrorsm activities. However, in the Lundeby case, the federal government was right in using the USA PATRIOT act in incarcerating Ashton Lundeby. Though a juvenile, the 16 year old had allegedly issued bomb threats from his home. Sharing of communication data enabled the federal government to identify the origin of the call. The bomb threat perceived as an act of terror, as outlined in the USA PATRIOT Act, made the federal agency intervene and prevent the activity from taking place. This was the primary reason that necessitated the federal agencies to apprehend Ashton Lundeby prior to completion of the investigation into the bomb threat.
In a free and open society, people perceive suspects as innocent until proven guilty by a court of law beyond any reasonable doubt. This should be the norm rather than the exception. Legislators, therefore, should ensure that people uphold principles in formulating the laws of the land. Terming an individual guilty before the due, legal process has taken place is, therefore, a violation of the human rights of the individual. Thus, by detaining an individual and forfeiting their basic human rights, the Patriot Act contravened this legal principle. The government can balance the protection of the population with civil rights by accelerating the trials of suspected terrorists and presenting all the material facts that make it to brand them as such.
Technological evidence is, therefore, one of the principle tools used by prosecutors worldwide in proving the guilt of the accused person. The USA PATRIOT Act gives the federal agencies more access to communication than before, since the terrorists may use them in communicating with their accomplices. This enables the federal agencies to act swiftly to prevent terrorism activities from occurring. Thus, if technology shows that terrorism threats occurred from a specific location, the federal agencies have a right to use this as a basis for conducting raids on the location.
USA PATRIOT Act
Governments are notorious for using legal loopholes in ensuring that the ruling of cases favors them. This increases the oppression of innocent civilians by their governments. To enable the USA Patriotic Act conform to the civil rights of individuals, the clause that states that immigrants can be detained indefinitely even if they are found not to have links to terrorism should be removed. Law enforcements may use this clause to place innocent civilians into custody. It is wrong for the government to hold innocent civilians indefinitely, especially if the government has been unable to prove their crimes (Ewing & Doyle, 2005).
In virtually all cases, the government has the obligation of showing how it collected the evidence which led to the conclusion that the defendant was guilty. Failure to prove this is tantamount to an injustice. However, the USA PATRIOT Act gives the government agencies the right to conceal how evidence against a suspected terrorist defendant was collected. Thus, the government may alter the evidence collected to enable it set up an individual for terrorism activities (Ewing & Doyle, 2005).
Both the Senate and Congress passed the USA patriot act, unanimous. Its intentions were genuine. However, some of the clauses of the Act need to be amended in order to prevent the federal authorities from violating the basic human rights of civilians. Several contentious clauses such as the clause that gives the federal government the authority to hold immigrants indefinitely even if they have no links to terrorism activities should be amended. The federal government should also show how the evidence was collected to prevent them from doctoring the evidence to implicate suspects. Ultimately, the aim of the government is to protect rights of its citizens. Thus, no law should infringe on the human rights of its citizens.
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