Source: The News Online,10117,17564582-2,00.html

February 6, 2006

THE Australian lawyer for David Hicks, the former Adelaide man in US detention at Guantanamo Bay, is seeking a meeting with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer after visiting the terror suspect.

David McLeod said he wanted to talk with Mr Downer about Hicks, who was now in his fifth year of detention and was increasingly anxious to be released.

"David's physical condition is dogged by back and neck problems, feet problems and failing eyesight," Mr McLeod told ABC radio.

"His physical condition really is pretty much the same as it has been over the last year.

"What his real concern is, of course, is his mental outlook.

"David is haunted by the persistent knowledge that one of his fellow countrymen and nine British nationals have been discharged (and) released from Guantanamo Bay, now a year ago."

Mr McLeod said Hicks was aware he had won the first round in London of his claim for British citizenship bid but was not aware of a pending appeal to the High Court.

"His reaction is dulled by just about all events. His hope and despair is palpable," he said.

"The Australian government has shown a willingness to review David's position from time to time.

"I've had a very good, open relationship with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and I hope that upon return (to Australia) I can again see him and he can relay what I put to him to his colleagues in cabinet."

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