government abandons hicks to kangaroo court

Friday, 4 July 2003 NSWCCL media release: 17/2003


Any criminal trial of David Hicks must be held before an Australian court of law - not in a kangaroo court, not before a military circus or anything else. David Hicks has already been held for over 18 months by the Americans, against his will, without any accusation, charge or conviction. What is perhaps worse is that the Australian government has done nothing to protect the basic rights of one of its citizens. 

NSWCCL President, Mr Cameron Murphy, said: -- 

"The world has certainly changed since September 11 - into a place where supposedly democratic nations abandon basic principles of justice, fairness and due process." 

"While we are willing to go to war to defend our fundamental democratic principles such as natural justice, fairness, and our human rights on the other hand we are prepared to abandon them when it comes to David Hicks." 

"Our government's conduct of this matter is inexcusable, and sometimes barely distinguishable from what you would expect of the terrorists we are fighting." 

"The decision by the Howard Government to ignore the violation of the basic rights at least two Australians is unprecedented and it leaves serious doubts about the prospects of government assistance for any citizen who is illegally detained while abroad." 

"Hicks has now been held for more than eighteen months without any sense of justice. He remains, rotting in 2 x 2 metre cage, exposed to the elements in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba because our government has not requested his return to Australia." 

"Citizens of other nations, including Germany and the United States have had their citizens returned home and their basic legal rights guaranteed because their governments acted for them." 

"The Howard Government have been content to turn a blind eye over Hicks' unlawful imprisonment but now they are prepared to sit back and watch while he is condemned to death by an illegal and immoral military kangaroo court." 

"If Hicks is supposed to have committed a crime then he should be returned to Australia, charged, and tried before an Australian court." 

"However much an American Military Tribunal is 'dressed up' to look like a court it will never be one. There will always be doubts raised and questions asked about its independence, rules of evidence, procedures, fairness and integrity." 

"We cannot be certain whether Hicks has committed any crime, but we will always know that any conviction under these circumstances will never be valid and can never be justified."

For further information contact: 

Cameron Murphy, NSWCCL President: 0411 769 769