Terry Hicks: They want my son found guilty


Terry Hicks, the father of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Leslie Richmond about the implications of the new US Military Commission Act.

Hicks argues that the new commissions are worse than the previous process for Guantanamo prisoners. "They run along the same lines as before, except they've taken out the writ of habeas corpus. And they can still use evidence that's taken under torture ... [Australian Attorney-General Philip] Ruddock said that sleep deprivation doesn't come under torture, so that's one way that they can still torture people and gain 'useful', as they call it, information."

Ruddock and PM John Howard are cooperating in this rewriting of what constitutes torture, Hicks said. "They've been with the American government right from the start, four or five years ago, and they won't take their blinkers off. All the other countries could see the writing on the wall, that this commission system's not set up to be fair. The English had [their citizens] taken out, the Swedish had theirs taken back home - but not the Australian government."

"Mr Ruddock and [foreign minister Alexander] Downer and Mr Howard all come out with the same statement: they have sufficient evidence against David to try him through the commissions. What they don't tell the public is they have sufficient evidence that's been taken under torture. A human being can only take so much before he will give them the information they want to hear.

"This is not permissible in a normal court of law. This is one of the reasons that Mr Ruddock and Mr Downer both, and Mr Howard, are all pressing for the commissions to go ahead as quickly as possible." This is despite most of the law societies around the world condemning these commissions, he added.

Hicks believes that the defence team will appeal against the commission process and, "unfortunately, David's the one who's going to suffer because it could be two years, two-and-a-half years, before the case is heard.

"If David was brought back to face an Australian court, under Australian law he has done nothing wrong and they would have to release him. The Australian government wants him tried and found guilty, and the only way they can do that is by putting him through a kangaroo court system, like the commissions, where everything's geared against these people who've got to face them."

Hicks emphasised: "Regardless of whether David's my son or not ... I can't understand why the Australian government can't bring him back and put him under the monitoring system. He's not going to do anything, and after five years [in Guantanamo] he's not going to be too well to travel around anyway."

"The Australian government have got a lot to face up to", he concluded.

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