Kerry Cripps, of Elizabeth South, has been a friend of David Hicks - the Elizabeth man held by the US in Guantanamo Bay -for the past 15 years. She says it's time the Australian Government stopped ignoring his situation and got him out:

Kerry Cripps

Kerry Cripps: "What I am saying is that he's a human being and should be treated like one."

( Picture: Ian Roddie )

I GOT to know David when he was a friend of my brother Sean, back when they were both about 12 or 13.

Sean passed away when he was 14, but David stayed as a friend of our whole family. I was a couple of years older than them and, when I met my (future) husband Carl not long after this, he and David hit it off right away.

They basically lived out of each other's pockets as they both loved fishing.

If you wanted to find them, chances are they'd be around here watching a fishing video, reading or swapping a book or they'd be down at a jetty somewhere.

When me and Carl both got jobs, we'd get home from work and he'd be waiting on the doorstep to meet us.

So we were a bit shocked to find out he'd gone to Afghanistan and that he'd then been captured by the Americans.

Look, I'm not saying David is innocent. What I am saying is that he's a human being and should be treated like one. Too many people have made their minds up about him.

I know they're entitled to their own opinions, but how can you have an opinion when only one side of the story has been told.

I don't know, I just get so frustrated when I hear people saying things about David, or when I see the Government doing nothing to help him.

I've actually started writing a book, the story of the David I know and remember, and I've also done some poems about him.

I'd been sort of doing the book for a little while, just really getting my thoughts down.
But I woke up one morning last week and sat at the computer and, I don't know, I think I was just sitting there trying to imagine how he felt being locked up far from home and, before I knew it, all of this poetry was coming out.

I don't know how good it is. To me, it's just stuff that's come from the heart, but I've shown it to some friends, some of them who know David, and they think it's okay.

I'd like to get it all into some sort of order and then see if we could get it published somehow. I think it might help people see the David we know, rather than the person that's being written and talked about - because that's not our David.

If you ask me, from what I know of David, I'd say he went up there to learn about the Islamic faith and was co-erced into it. There's no way in the world that I think he thought it would lead him to this.

I just can't believe that there's any way in the world he would want to do anything bad.

Kerry Cripps has also written some Poems about David and his family.

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