26th OCTOBER 2002
AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP, WHAT A LOT OF BUNK! SAYS TERRY
Terry Hicks, father of alleged Al Quaida fighter, David Hicks, is outraged that the Australian government has been promoting the idea of becoming a citizen and gaining certain rights which have not been available to his son, David. David Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in December last year by the Northern Alliance. Since this time he has been imprisoned in both Afghanistan and Cuba with no access to legal or consular assistance. He remains uncharged despite the government spending approximately $750,000 on Federal Police and ASIO investigations into his involvement in Afghanistan.
Terry said, " I am tired of reading all this bunk in newspapers about citizenship when the fact that David is an Australian citizen has done nothing to assist in gaining justice for him." Mr Hicks quoted from a Commonwealth Government ad. "You will be eligible for an Australian passport and can seek assistance from the Australian government when travelling overseas." He said, "Most Australians understand this to mean that as a citizen they have the right to a visit from the Australian consul if they are in trouble. Before this point the Australian government gets to work endeavouring to secure their rights. These include the right to be taken before a judge and informed of any charges against them. Also the right to a fair trial. These have not been provided for David nor for the other Australian also held in Cuba, Mamdouh Habib. It is a disgrace that Australians are being treated in this manner."
The US government has stated that it will be releasing some of the prisoners in Cuba shortly. It is believed that these will be the Pakistani and Kuwaiti prisoners whose governments have made representations on their behalf. Terry Hicks called upon the Australian government to do the same to have David returned and either charged or released. " He has not been given his legal rights," said Terry. "That's all I'm asking."
Trudy Dunn, spokesperson for Fair Go for David, the group which has been set up to protect the rights of David Hicks, said "The Australian government has continued to allow the US to violate the human rights of the men incarcerated in Cuba." She continued, "There has been a vast amount of money spent on investigations which have not produced a shred of evidence. It's time the government gave up this witch hunt and brought David home."
For Media Comment: Trudy Dunn (spokesperson, FGFD) 0403.537.822