The Australian Government’s knowledge of David Hicks’ torture and unfair trial is all beginning to unravel.
It has been sometime since our last newsletter, so we want to give you an update in recent events.
On July 23 the Australian Government announced that it was dropping the Proceeds of Crime Case against David. This, in many respects, can be viewed as a positive, in that David and his family were not subjected to a lengthy and public court process. However, it is also unfortunate considering that the trial would have uncovered, and put on the public record, the evidence surrounding his treatment whilst in US custody.
Throughout September, articles outlining the evidence of medical torture, including forced drugging and injections were published by Truthout and Sydney Morning Herald. More people continue to come forward, including medics and former Guantanamo guards.
Also released, was Joshua Dratel’s affidavit, that revealed admissions made by the US military that David was drugged before he was read the charges- which is unlawful under international law. The affidavit also uncovered aspects of David’s treatment and the reasons why he had no other choice but to sign the plea deal to get out of Guantanamo Bay.
In a statement to the press, the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions acknowledged that they had to drop the case because there was insufficient evidence to prove that a crime had been committed. They also claimed that ‘new’ evidence was submitted to the court- including the circumstances around the Alford plea, and his treatment. However, this evidence has been publicly available for years now.
The fact that the case was dropped was a great victory for David, and a further step towards him clearing his name.
Charge Ruled Invalid
In a US Appeals Court ruling earlier this week, it was decided that “Material Support for Terrorism”, the charge that David Hicks was forced to plead guilty to, was not a recognised crime under international law, and it was applied retrospectively.
Stephen Kenny, who is the spokesperson for The Justice Campaign, stated that in light of the new ruling, the Australian Government should recognise David’s conviction as invalid, null and void, due to the retrospective application of the law and the unfairness of the process.
This law was created in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, five years after David was sold to the US Military and sent to Guantanamo Bay. The judgment reinforces what we and many others, including Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, have said – that the system was unfair.
Now is the time to hold an independent and open inquiry into David’s case. The Australian public have a right to know the extent of the political involvement in David’s case, and exactly what was known of David’s treatment in Guantanamo.
We need to ensure this ugly chapter of Australian history is never repeated again. Please take the time to write to your federal MP, or even better, go and see them in person. If you are short of time, you can sign the petition here.
As always, thank you for your support.
With hope for justice,
The Justice Campaign Team