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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 187

Mr Rudd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 6 December 2004:

(1)   Is he aware of the Amnesty International report dated 27 October 2004 titled Human Dignity Denied: Torture and accountability in the ‘war on terror’; if so, has he read the report.

(2)   Have any members of his staff read the report.

(3)   Is he aware of that part of the report which states that the released Swedish detainee Mehdi Ghezali told Amnesty International that he was subjected to sleep deprivation in April 2004, three months before he was released; if so, (a) was it drawn to his attention by his department, (b) did he ask his department to investigate the claim and if he did not, why not, and (c) did his department investigate the claim; if not, (i) why not, and (ii) will he now instruct his department to investigate the claims.

(4)   Does he still claim that Mr David Hicks and Mr Mamdouh Habib have been treated humanely during their detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

I am aware of the Amnesty Report and the main allegations contained in the report, including those relating to the treatment of Australian detainees Mr David Hicks and Mr Mamdouh Habib. The Government has asked the United States to conduct a comprehensive investigation into all allegations of mistreatment of Australian nationals in Guantanamo Bay, including allegations made by other detainees.

On 23 August 2004, the Government received the outcomes of the US Department of Defence investigation which stated that there was no information to support the allegations of abuse. The Government is awaiting the final outcome of a second investigation being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Preliminary advice received by the Government, however, suggests that the NCIS has thus far found no evidence to substantiate the allegations of mistreatment.