Australian government moves to suppress evidence of David Hicks' torture

The Justice Campaign released the statement below on July 23.

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The Justice Campaign is pleased to hear that the Australian government has announced its decision not to pursue its case to sue David Hicks for the proceeds of his book Guantanamo: My Journey.

This follows the evidence submitted by Mr Hicks’ lawyers regarding his torture and ill-treatment in US custody and further evidence of the internationally discredited military commissions process.

David Hicks said: “I am pleased that the Australian government has effectively cleared my name and acknowledged that Guantanamo and everything connected with it is illegal.”

However, a spokesperson from The Justice Campaign said: “Although this news is fantastic for David considering his post-traumatic stress disorder, it is unfortunate that his ill-treatment and the legality of the plea deal will not be tested in a regularly constituted court.

“It is interesting timing considering that it was recently confirmed that former Guantanamo Bay guard Brandon Neely was due to give evidence about what he witnessed at Guantanamo, including David’s treatment, and more information about the unlawful treatment of prisoners was recently released.”

The former chief prosecutor of the military commissions, Colonel Morris Davis, had resigned over the case citing political interference from the Howard government and has stated on numerous occasions that Hicks should never have been charged.

The Justice Campaign believes that this announcement means that there is an even greater need for an independent and open investigation into the Hicks case.

“If Mr Hicks was treated ‘humanely’ and if the military commissions process was a fair and legal one, there should be no reason why the Australian government would not want to open an investigation,” said the spokesperson.

“It is time for the Australian government to make things right just as other countries have done, such as the UK.”

The Justice Campaign was formed amid growing frustration and disappointment at the failure of successive Australian governments to be open and transparent about David Hicks’ treatment and the political interference involved in his case.

The Justice Campaign hopes to see an independent investigation that will provide publicly available information about David’s treatment, the degree to which Australian authorities were involved in this and knew about it, and the degree to which torture was used to extract information.

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