March 21, 2003


Senator Linda Kirk, ALP Senator for South Australia, tabled a petition about the rights of Australian citizen, David Hicks, in the Senate this week.

The petition asked that the Senate ensure that Hicks' rights were met under the Geneva conventions, that a delegation be sent to George W. Bush asking for his repatriation and, that the Australian government provide him with a civil trial, in Australia, if he was charged with any crime. At the present time no charges have been laid against Hicks despite repeated questioning by Australian and US government interrogators over a period of fifteen months. Furthermore Hicks has no criminal record in Australia. Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Northern Alliance. Since this time he has been imprisoned in both Afghanistan and Cuba with no access to legal or consular assistance.

Senator Kirk said, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states quite clearly: No-one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile ... It also provides (that) everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. It is clear that in the case of Hicks no charge has been brought."

Senator Kirk said she had a "professional interest in law and human rights and international law… and the government had defiantly and stubbornly failed to act …" in the case of David Hicks. She said, "I do not know if David Hicks is guilty or not," however he was entitled to the protection of the Geneva conventions and he had not been provided with this protection.
"My concern is that his detention without charge in a United States military facility amounts to a breach of the fundamental legal and human rights of an Australian citizen," she said.

Terry Hicks, the father of David, said, "Many Australians have indicated their support and concern about David by signing the petition. I'd like to say a personal "thankyou" to all who signed this petition. It's been great to have so much support from people who do not even know my son. It's amazing, we get people from all over the country contacting us. We had a letter just last week from an ex-serviceman in Tasmania. He would have signed the petition but thought that it was too late." Mr Hicks said, "It's not too late to sign, the petition is open ended and, when there are more signatures, these will be presented to parliament."

Ph: Mr Terry Hicks - Home (08) 8281 8334   or
Ms Kay Bilney, Spokeswoman FGFD - 0407 489 293

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