Australian Officials have been granted access for the first time to accused al-Qa'ida fighter David Hicks, who has been held inisolation by the US for months.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Government had finally won permission to send consular officials to Mr Hicks in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay military prison to check on his welfare.

The Howard Government had been under pressure from the Hicks family to get access to Mr Hicks so that he could be brought back to Australia to face charges, rather than be tried in the US.

Mr Downer said that Washington-based, and possibly Canberra officers would visit Mr Hicks "at a time yet to be announced".

"He is an Australian citizen, albeit one who has behaved, in our view, very foolishly".

A decision also had to be made on whether Australia would ask that Mr Hicks ne tried at home.

Home | Articles | Contact Us | News Media | Links


Australian,   March 23-24, 2002