Bring David Hicks home (from Guantanamo) before Christmas!

Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:10 pm
Today is the 5th year of incarceration of David Hicks, an Australian citizen, at Guantanamo Bay.

So far no charges have been laid against him & a trial date has not been set.

He is said to be in solitary confinement & in a poor state, physically and mentally.

Many other governments, including the UK, have brought their detainees home to face charges there. The Australian government claims that that we do not have the laws to do so here. And claim that they are constantly appealing to the US government to bring him to trial soon.

It is immaterial to me whether David Hicks is "guilty" of ill-defined crimes or not. Five years at Guantanamo Bay is surely enough?

Shame on the Australian government on allowing an Australian citizen to be treated in this disgraceful manner!
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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:19 pm
Today's AGE editorial:

When ideology replaces compassion, we all suffer
December 9, 2006/AGE Editorial

Australia's refusal to defend the rights of its citizens in detention at home and abroad is indefensible.
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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:30 pm
GetUp's campaign to bring David Hicks home:

"Dear Mr Downer

All Australians have the right to receive a fair trial.

The British, Spanish, and French Governments have all refused to allow their citizens to be tried in Guantanamo Bay. Even the Americans have removed their citizens from Guantanamo Bay and ensured they face a fair trial at home. As Australian Foreign Minister you should have the courage to do the same.

We demand that you act immediately to bring David Hicks back here to face an Australian court."

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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:49 pm
Last week Liberal backbenchers Surprised , yesterday 300 members of the Melbourne legal profession demonstrated outside the city court & today the Uniting Church is adding its voice for justice for Hicks:

....The Uniting Church is not convinced Mr Hicks's legal and civil rights will be respected if his case is processed in the US, and wants it dealt with under Australian or international law.

The church's president, Reverend Gregor Henderson, says everyone's human rights should be taken very seriously - and that includes Mr Hicks.

"As Australians, we believe that our democratic Government has a responsibility to safeguard the human rights of all citizens," he said.

"Even those who are alleged wrongdoers or those who are unpopular for some reason.

"The fact that he's already been locked up for five years without having been found guilty of anything - we're concerned at the treatment that's been apparently metered out to him, the solitary confinement." ....

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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:53 pm
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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 05:59 pm
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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 06:05 pm
Fair Go For David Hicks campaign site. (Lots of commentary, cartoons & multimedia stuff.:

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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 06:12 pm
There are rallies around Australia today to support David Hick's repatriation to Australia (see link in the previous post). I wish I could go to the one in Federation Square in the city (Melbourne) but this time I can't. This thread is my small contribution to the campaign.
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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 05:20 pm
Please, get me out of here: desperate plea
December 10, 2006/Sunday AGE

Hicks' father, Terry, addresses the Bring David Home rally in Adelaide yesterday.

DAVID HICKS has begged Australia to "get me out of here" on the fifth anniversary of his incarceration at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Hicks, 31, who was visited over two days last week at Camp 5 by his Pentagon-appointed military defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, was desperate to return home and live a normal life. "That's what it boils down to," Major Mori said from Washington yesterday. "I honestly don't know how David has lasted as long as he has."

Major Mori said Hicks was still being held in solitary confinement for 22 to 23 hours a day and could walk no more than 10 paces in any direction which affected his physical health. ....

....Hicks was extensively briefed by Major Mori on the court action launched last week against the Australian Government which named Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and which begins in the Federal Court in Sydney next Friday.......

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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 05:32 pm
Hicks granted urgent hearing
December 6, 2006/the AGE

Lawyers for Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks have been granted an urgent hearing in the Federal Court amid hopes he can be brought home before Christmas.

.... A directions hearing has been granted before Justice Brian Tamberlin on December 15.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and the federal government have all been named in the papers filed with the court today.

Hicks has been in custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 following the US invasion.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.

But following a US Supreme Court ruling in June, declaring illegal the military tribunals set up to try Hicks and other Guantanamo Bay inmates, those charges were dropped.

He is expected to face a revised form of military commission after recent moves in the US to change the laws governing their operation.

The original commission process was earlier found to be unlawful by the US Supreme Court. ...

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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 05:40 pm
Hicks finally to be charged after Christmas, says Ruddock's office
December 10, 2006/SMH

DAVID Hicks will be charged soon after January 17 when new regulations for the US military commission expected to try him come into effect, says Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

As supporters attended rallies around Australia to mark the fifth anniversary of Hicks's detention, a spokesman for Mr Ruddock said approaches to the US to bring him home would not be made yet. ... <cont>

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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 05:45 pm
Strange that the Australian Attorney General (Ruddock) has made this announcement (above) & not the US authorities. It'll be interesting to see what anouncements do come from the US.
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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 06:38 pm
The cells that David Hicks and inmates call home

David Hicks' cell at Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held since 2001.

..... At a meeting in Fremantle two weeks ago, the attorneys raised Hicks' treatment with Mr Ruddock, who claimed the Australian terrorism suspect was not in solitary confinement, had natural light and access to a library, which he had not used.

The attorneys then consulted Hicks' lawyer, Major Michael Mori, who said Hicks was confined in a one-person cell for 23 hours a day, could not leave for meals and was allowed an hour a day in a "reading room without any books".

Mr Ruddock invited the attorneys to outline their complaints, and has promised to respond.

The attorneys say the shelves in the so-called library are "entirely empty", and Hicks has had no access to legal documents since several inmates committed suicide in June. A cart with books is brought to him "on an irregular basis".

"The conditions of Mr Hicks' detention are commensurate with 'observation cells' used in the NSW prison system for suicide prevention," the letter says.

"They are used exclusively for inmates who are actively distressed or otherwise considered likely to self-harm and are employed for (up to) 24 hours."

Mr Ruddock refused to comment yesterday on the photos or on Hicks' treatment. "I indicated that the Government was willing to respond to any correspondence from (NSW Attorney-General) Mr Debus outlining his concerns in relation to Mr David Hicks," Mr Ruddock said.

"I have not received that correspondence. The course Mr Debus has taken indicates he is more interested in publicity than a genuine response. I will reply to any substantial concerns about Mr Hicks when I receive that letter."

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Reply Sat 9 Dec, 2006 07:12 pm
msolga wrote:
Strange that the Australian Attorney General (Ruddock) has made this announcement (above) & not the US authorities. It'll be interesting to see what anouncements do come from the US.

I've been doing a bit of Googling to see if there are any US government statements or announcements about about David Hicks being charged in January. I've come up with zilch. Is it usual for the US authorities to make official announcements via the attorneys general of other countries?
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Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2006 01:58 am
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Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2006 05:13 pm
bmmming. Go Olgs, go.
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Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 04:33 am
Hey, another presence on this thread! Hooray & phew!
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Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 05:31 am
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Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 07:36 pm
Full Article
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Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 07:57 pm
Passion play for Hicks

Rob Hulls

December 14, 2006 12:00am
Article from: Herald-Sun

AS the world recognised UN Human Rights Day, an Australian citizen passed his fifth year in a tiny single occupancy cell on Cuba.
He is isolated from his family, from his hard-working legal representative, from the prospect of a fair trial and, it would seem, all hope.

It is mind boggling that David Hicks has been left to languish in conditions that would be an affront to any Australian's sense of decency.

It is equally astonishing that while his physical and mental health deteriorate our Federal Government sits on its hands, happy to sell the rights of a citizen down the river.

This is gutlessness in the extreme. Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's claims that Hicks is still likely to receive a fair trial are almost laughable.

What chance does anybody have of a fair trial if they have remained for five years without proper charge, if witnesses, evidence and the opportunity to prepare an informed defence are long gone?

What chance does anybody have if their own Prime Minister has thrown out the presumption of innocence, if the leader of the so-called free world has done the same and described them as a killer?

And, most importantly, if the jurisdiction in which they are to be tried has been ruled by the US Supreme Court as unlawful?

Let's face it, Saddam Hussein got a fairer trial than Hicks will ever have, that is, unless Mr Ruddock and his masters show some spine and demand, as other sovereign nations have, that their citizen be granted a trial, and promptly, in a properly constituted forum, or that he be returned home.

Most people understand that justice delayed is justice denied and numerous legal experts consider that any trial under the new military commission system would breach the Geneva Convention. Also that it would be unlawful in the US and would breach the standards for a fair trial under Australian law.

Even further, these experts believe that if Commonwealth ministers urge a trial under this system it could constitute a war crime under Australia's criminal code.

M AKE no mistake, the Victorian Government abhors terrorism and believes people who commit terrorist acts should face the full force of the law.

That does not change the fact, however, that an Australian citizen, who is not charged with any act of violence, has languished for five years.

This without a trial while those who should be defending his basic rights, as they should any of us, have chosen to do nothing.

Like many Australians, I have been raising my concerns about the treatment of Hicks with the Commonwealth for years and put the matter front and centre at the standing committee of attorneys-general in July this year.

Interestingly, Philip Ruddock contacted his American counterpart on the morning of the meeting as a direct result of the pressure put on him by Victoria and other states.

In November, when the Victorian Government was in caretaker mode, other state and territory attorney-generals signed the Fremantle Declaration and demanded the Commonwealth take action to ensure David Hicks is immediately brought to trial.

Only political and public pressure has forced the Commonwealth's hand in relation to Hicks. The Commonwealth has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point in the face of growing public outrage.

We should be clear here: at last count, 340 detainees held at Guantanamo had been repatriated to their country of origin.

Of the 434 who remain alongside Hicks, a further 110 have been judged as eligible for release.

In a statement last month, the US Department of Defence said: "Departure of these remaining detainees approved for transfer or release is subject to continuing discussions between the United States and other nations.

"The United States does not desire to hold detainees for any longer than necessary."

The Commonwealth argues that Hicks cannot be repatriated because he has not violated any Australian law and therefore cannot be tried here.

Leaving aside the fact that there is legal advice to the contrary, this is a bizarre argument to say the least.

I N effect, and as David Hicks' US lawyer, Major Mori, has argued, our Federal Government is saying it is leaving an Australian citizen to the mercy of Guantanamo Bay because he hasn't committed a crime against Australian law.

What is an Australian passport worth if its holder is left to this kind of fate?

What is Australian citizenship worth if this is the kind of protection it inspires?

As we demand that those seeking this citizenship commit themselves to values such as respect for the rule of law, we must be confident that we can guarantee to provide it -- that, as a nation, we commit to it too.

Rob Hulls is State Attorney-General
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