Julian Assange, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky have added their names to a new online petition in support of former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks.
They join scores of other signatories, including Greens MP Adam Bandt, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, Liberty Victoria President Spencer Zifcak and Overland Journal editor Jeff Sparrow. Overland released the online petition on July 21.
The petition is a response to the announcement that federal prosecutors will move to seize the proceeds of Hicks' 2010 book, Guantanamo: My Journey, under the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act.
It says: “Many Australians regard the treatment of David Hicks as an international outrage. What took place — what continues to take place — in Guantanamo Bay deserves more publicity, not less. If the government thinks it has done nothing wrong, it has nothing to fear from a full discussion of the Hicks case.
“The move against Hicks’ memoirs should concern everyone. But it is of particular relevance to writers and publishers, precisely because of the direct interference into publications with which the government politically disagrees.
“How can Australian publishers feel safe publishing material that is controversial knowing that the Australian government is willing to use laws to financially penalise perceived opponents? Fundamentally, this is an issue of political censorship.
“As lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea put it, ‘Anyone who believes in the right to a fair trial and freedom from torture should defend Hicks.’ The government’s application is to be heard 3 August in NSW. We’re asking those in the publishing industry to sign this petition (leave your name below or send us an email) because this action has alarming political and financial implications for writers and publishers everywhere.”
[For the full text of the petition and to add your name visit http://web.overland.org.au/ ]