Hicks imprisoned by silence

October 29, 2010
David Hicks.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks was under a control order that prevented him from speaking about his ordeal for a year after his release.

In an attempt to further silence him, on October 27 shadow attorney-general George Brandis called on the government to charge Hicks with profiting from crime for writing a book.

The book about his experiences, Guantanamo: My Journey hit number four in the non-fiction bestseller category.

Hicks was sold to US forces by the Afghan Northern Alliance after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Hicks was allegedly working for the Taliban government when he was captured by the Northern Alliance.

Hicks spent more than six years in US custody, most of it in the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, he said, he was tortured and abused.

In March 2007, Hicks was offered and accepted a plea bargain where he pleaded guilty to “providing material support for terrorism” and agreed to drop all possible charges of mistreatment while imprisoned.

He served another nine months in Adelaide's Yatala Labour Prison and was released in December 2007.

As part of his plea-bargain, Hicks agreed to give to the Australian government any proceeds he may make from information relating to his “illegal conduct”.

Human rights groups argue Hicks’ plea bargain was obtained under duress. He was detained for years without any charge, without legal representation. Some former detainees have successfully challenged their detention.

If more succeed, Hicks’ own conviction may be ruled illegal.

Random House, Hicks’ publisher, told the ABC on September 24 that all financial dealings with Hicks are confidential and that it had sought legal advice before publishing his book.

If the government can prove that Hicks is financially benefiting from the sale of the book, there could be grounds for legal action. The October 28 Herald Sun said the Attorney-General Robert McClelland is currently considering if there is a case.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.