Source: The News Online
May 20, 2006
By Peter Veness
THE father of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks said his son would not have been involved in a riot at the controversial US prison camp.
"He probably knows nothing about the riots," Terry Hicks said today.
His son David has been interned at the isolated military-run prison in Cuba for more than four years after he was arrested in Afghanistan for suspected links to al-Qaeda.
He has been charged and was being held in solitary confinement. He was scheduled to face a military tribunal.
His hearing has been stalled because of challenges to the tribunal's legal standing.
A riot broke out at the detention camp yesterday when prisoners with makeshift weapons clashed with guards.
The clash, which erupted the same day two detainees attempted suicide in other parts of the camp, was one of the most violent incidents reported at the prison, where the US holds about 460 men suspected of links to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
Six prisoners were injured in the melee, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base commander Navy Rear Admiral Harry B Harris, Jr said.
Terry Hicks today said the only clue his son would have about what is going on in the prison would be the movement of prisoners.
He said the prisoners involved would likely now be in solitary confinement, just like his son.
"I don't think David would be involved in something like this," Mr Hicks said.
Boredom and no visitors would have contributed to the unrest, he said.
"They probably have no access to anyone else."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed that David Hicks was unlikely to have been involved.
"There's no indication David Hicks was involved," a DFAT spokesman said.
US defence lawyers said today the suicide attempts at Guantanamo Bay reflected increasing despair among detainees, most of whom have been held for more than four years without charges.
"Under these circumstances, it's hardly surprising that people become desperate and hopeless enough to attempt suicide," said Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, a lawyer for a detainee from Bahrain who has repeatedly tried to kill himself.
News of the violence came as a UN panel urged the US to close the detention centre, which has become an increasing source of tension.