4th MAY 2002


The government has announced that it will visit alleged Taliban fighter, David Hicks, in Cuba. Darryl Williams, Attorney General, announced this week that the visit would take place in about a fortnight. The delegation which would visit Hicks would, in part, consist of intelligence officers. The purpose of the visit is to further interrogate Hicks to endeavour to discover a link with the Al-Quaeda network which the US believes is responsible for the attacks of September 11 last year.

Trudy Dunn, spokesperson for Fair Go for David, a support group which is endeavouring to assist the Hicks' family to gain justice for their son, said, "It is untenable that David and these other men, none of whom have been charged with any crime, are still being held in incommunicado and in detention after five months. The US needs to be aware that the violation of human rights is not acceptable." She insisted that there had already been numerous interrogations, "if the TV footage was anything to go by. Also Australian Intelligence agents have already questioned David when he was aboard the American warship. It's about time the government got its act together and supported Australian citizens and their rights under the law of the land. I believe all these interrogations amount to torture and that's not on," she maintained.

Ms Dunn went on to say that she believed it was "highly unlikely that the men imprisoned in Camp X-ray would ever be charged." She had found this information in the Adelaide daily newspaper which had quoted Victoria Clarke, a Pentagon spokesperson. "Ms Clarke said that these men were 'the rats and mice' of the Taliban," said Ms Dunn. "If this is so why doesn't the US simply release and repatriate them?" she asked.

When asked about his thoughts on the proposed Cuba visit and interrogation of his son, "Enough is enough," stated Terry Hicks. "It's time all this questioning ended and David was sent home to Australia. If anything…he needs to be visited by our solicitor, Stephen Kenny, myself and his mother."

Mr Hicks added that he was "heartened by the numerous responses received from people around Australia, offering assistance and asking why the government had taken so long to visit David,… and all those who have said that they've written letters about my son." He was eager to see David for himself because, "After all this time imprisoned and without access to his family, he probably needs some moral support," he said.

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