Fair Go For David

By Trudy Dunn

An Exclusive interview with Terry Hicks, father of Australian, David Hicks. Terry has shunned the media but has allowed this interview to be published on the internet, in order that the truth will be told about his son.  

 5th, February 2002

I'm like a lot of my fellow Australians; I like to hear every side of a story before I make up my mind on a subject. I also believe in a fair go for all. On the 5th of February 2002, I met with The Fair Go For David Campaign. A group of Adelaide people who believe that David Hicks is not being given a fair go. By the end of the meeting I found myself joining the cause.
Among the people who attended the meeting were Terry Hicks (David's father) and Chris (David's uncle). Terry and Chris present as nice normal Aussie men, the kind you'll find in most homes around Australia. They're friendly, open, realistic folk. Terry doesn't seem a whole lot different to my own father. I haven't read or heard much from the Hicks family in the media and was most interested to hear their story. Of course we can't get David's tale as no one is allowed to visit or contact him.
David Hicks is being held in Cuba, under suspicion of being a terrorist. So far David is yet to be charged with anything, nor is he considered a POW as the US is not officially at war with any nation, therefore according to the US he is not entitled to the benefits of the Geneva Convention. David is a citizen of Australia, born and raised in Adelaide. Now, according to our reasoning as Australia is a US ally, surely David should be detained, charged and tried in Australia.
During the meeting on 5th February 2002, Terry Hicks told me that a lot of misleading information had been reported by mainstream media so I asked Terry Hicks if I might e-mail him a set of questions for publication on the net, on sites such as Indymedia and MWAW, he agreed. The following is an unedited transcript of that e-mail "interview."

Q. Terry, let's start with something easy. How long have you lived in Australia?

A. Born in Australia Lived Here 56 Yrs.

Q. And David?

A. The same, lived here 23Yrs. 3Yrs over seas on and off.

Q. How are you coping with having your son, David, detained so far away?

A. I'm finding it hard to cope with but managing to keep on top of it.

Q. The picture I got from what I read in the papers was that David was a soldier of fortune, had David had any combat training in Australia?

A. No.

Q. What sort of work did David do here?

A. All types of jobs such as jackaroo on stations up in the Northern Territory,
Queensland and Gulf of Carpenteria. He worked labouring in different jobs in SA
plus chicken and kangaroo boning around different abattoirs.

Q. When we met on the 5th you gave me the impression that David was adventurous from a young age. Could you give me a couple of examples?

A. David was willing to try his hand at anything such as rodeo riding where
he rode both bulls and horses. His other passion was to go out to sea
and fish for sharks.

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Q. Now if I got the story right the other day, this whole tale actually started in Japan, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. What was David doing in Japan?

A. Training race horses.

Q. Sounds like he's talented. Now you told me that something in the Japanese media drew him from that country. What was that?

A. He saw media reports on the Kosovo War with Serbia, where people were being slaughtered, he felt the need to go and help protect them, so he joined the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army).

Q. Now the KLA, were supported by the UN weren't they?

A. Yes, they were.

Q. How long was he over there?

A. About 2 months. Then he was sent home by the UN when it was decided that foreign help was no longer needed.

Q. So after that he came back to Adelaide?

A. Yes.

Q. Is that when he started to study Islam?

A. Yes. He studied for a while in Gilles Plains.

Q. Did he ever tell you about his faith?

A. Yes. It meant a lot to him.

Q. Now after some time of studying here, he went overseas, why?

A. To further his studies on the Islamic faith and study ancient Arabic. He also
wanted to travel on the old Silk Road through the Himalayas. The only way to do it
in safety was to join the Pakistani army where he did the border patrol at Kashmir.

Q. Could you tell me how he got from Pakistan to Afghanistan?

A. Not sure.

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Q. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the Taliban were the official government at the time, weren't they?

A. Yes.

Q. How do the students pay for their room, board etc.?

A. They spend some weeks studying and some weeks on border patrol.

Q. Let me just make sure I've got this right, he was a student of Islam, whose duties included border patrol?

A. Yes.

Q. Was David being paid for this?

A. No.

Q. So he won't exactly be coming home rich then?

A. No.

Q. After September 11th did you at any time speak with David?

A. Yes, once.

Q. Where was he?

A. Kandahar.

Q. What was his reaction to the news of the attacks?

A. He didn't seem to be aware of any attacks.

Q. So you're saying he had no idea of the September 11th attacks?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did he tell you where he'd be heading after the phone call?

A. Kabul. To defend the area against the Northern Alliance.

Q. To defend against the Northern Alliance?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was David captured by, the US or the Northern Alliance?

A. Northern Alliance.

Q. Not by US troops?

A. No.

Q. Then as far as you're aware David was fulfilling his student duties by defending the government against attacks from the Northern Alliance, not the coalition?

A. Yes.

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Q. When was he caught?

A. Sunday 9th Dec. we think.

Q. Has David been charged with any crime?

A. No.

Q. Have you seen or spoken to David since?

A. No.

Q. Have you been shown any photos to verify for yourself that he's ok?

A. No.

Q. Have you had any contact at all?

A. Yes one letter through the Red Cross.

Q. Can you guarantee that David wasn't in any way coerced to use that wording?

A. Yes definitely not.

Q. Where do you believe that David should be tried?

A. Here in Australia.

Q. Why?

A. As an Australian citizen the government should be doing all in their power to get him returned to Australia to face whatever charges might be laid here.

Q. Every time I see a picture of David, it's always the same one, (the one where he's holding a gun) where, when and why was it taken?

A. In Kosovo mucking around with his mates.

Q. So basically it's a macho thing? Showing off for his mates?

A. Yes.

Q. Surely there are other pictures the media could use?

A. Yes there are, they've been given several.

Q. What can people do to help David get a fair go?

A. Plenty of support. Also put pressure on the Australian government through letters expressing concerns about his treatment and detainment in Cuba.

We at Fair Go For David believe that David Hicks' rights as a human being are being violated, as long as he is detained in Cuba. If we allow this to happen to one Australian, we might as well surrender our own rights now. Don't let David's case set a precedent that could impair our own future freedoms. I can't personally judge whether or not David has committed a crime, if he has, he ought to be tried for it. As things stand, David could be detained indefinitely, yet never be charged, nor allowed to defend himself in front of a judge or jury.

Please contact your federal member of Parliament and complain.

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