Source : - ABC News Online
April 13, 2006
The father of terrorist suspect David Hicks says he is refusing to get excited by a ruling that upholds his son's right to British citizenship.
The British High Court has ruled against an appeal by the Home Office that attempted to prevent Hicks from becoming a citizen, even though his mother held British citizenship.
Lobbying by the British Government has resulted in nine United Kingdom citizens being released from the Guantanamo Bay prison where Hicks is being held.
It is hoped that citizenship would entitle Hicks to the same lobbying for his release.
Hicks's father, Terry, has told ABC Television's Lateline program the court decision is a weight off his shoulders.
"It's just been a long wait," he said.
But Terry Hicks says the decision does not guarantee his son's release.
"I think we've been disappointed too often," he said.
"This British citizenship business doesn't really secure David's release at this point in time.
"This is probably something the British lawyers have to start pushing for and see how we go from there."
Military lawyer Major Michael Mori is calling on the US Government to immediately allow British officials into Guantanamo Bay so David Hicks can take the citizenship oath.
"I feel it is a strong support for David's position that he's entitled to British citizenship ... there's no legitimate reason to take it away from him," he said.
But civilian lawyer Joshua Dratel, who also acts for David Hicks, says the Home Office could still appeal against the court decision to the House of Lords.
"If the House of Lords either declines to take the appeal or upholds this particular decision, then the British Government has to make a decision whether they're going to treat David differently for whatever reason or they're going to treat him consistent with the Government's position throughout the entirety of the whole process of Guantanamo Bay - that it's a legal black hole," he said.