The Sunday Age

Critic’s choice – M magazine

By David Knox

THE TRIAL    *** 1/2
The screening of this documentary in Victoria was forbidden in 2009 because of its subject: the trial of 12 Muslim men arrested on anti-terror laws in Melbourne, 2005. Going beyond sensationalist headlines of a ”footy jihad”, it features remarkable access to the defence team preparing and executing their case. They argue that the conversations secretly recorded by police make the case a question of thoughts over actions. Some conversations are even couched as theological debates by young Muslims questioning Islamic doctrine, and it raises questions about what the trial means for civil liberties. The legal aid team is up against a state-financed prosecution, creating a seemingly insurmountable battle as stark as any courtroom drama. The interviews with family members and dramatic reconstructions build a largely sympathetic documentary, but it does leave you wondering whether our anti-terror laws were rushed into legislation too quickly.

February 12, 2012

Sydney Morning Herald

By Louise Schwartzkoff

The Kafkaesque title of this documentary, which cannot be shown in Victoria, is a clue about where its makers stand on Australia’s anti-terrorism laws. The stories of Ezzit Raad and Abdullah Merhi, tried and convicted for crimes of thought and word in Australia’s biggest terrorism trial, are eerily reminiscent of Kafka’s The Trial, a novel about a man arrested and prosecuted for crimes he never really understands.

The nine-month trial is distilled into an hour of fascinating television that follows the legal teams of two of the accused. The lawyer’s passion for justice is inspiring but the question they ask will trouble many: what poses the bigger threat to democracy –the threat to terrorism or laws that undermine our civil liberties?

November 16, 2009

The Sunday Age

By John Tebbutt

“This trial is still bedevilling the media. If you were anywhere in Australia except Victoria on Tuesday evening, you could have watched an important documentary about the trial on SBS. The program provided a unique view of the impact it had on the lawyers and family of the accused. SBS decided for ”legal reasons” it would not risk showing it in Victoria. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions argued it could prejudice a forthcoming trial. Given that the trial concerned won’t begin for months, the program may never be broadcast in Victoria.”

November 22, 2009

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