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Australian parliamentarians ask US Congress to bring David Hicks home.
Australian Democrats Press Releases
Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria
Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
Dated: 02 February 2007 Press Release Number: ltvjjczv Portfolio: Attorney General & Justice Related: Foreign Affairs
Australian parliamentarians ask US Congress to bring David Hicks home
A letter initiated by the Australian Democrats to the Speaker of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, asking that steps be immediately put in place to return David Hicks to Australia, has been signed by 96 Senators and Members of Parliament from the Labor Party, Greens, Independents and National Party.
As Members of the Australian Parliament, we believe that the denial of justice in David Hicks case erodes the values and principles shared by Australia and the United States of America, Leader, Australian Democrats, Senator Lyn Allison said.
"In initiating this letter, the Democrats have been forced to go over the head of the Australian Government and its Ministers and appeal directly to the United States Congress to ensure our citizen is not left to rot indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, Democrats Attorney-Generals spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.
"The Howard Government is unwilling to intervene in Mr Hicks' case despite the fact that his situation contravenes international humanitarian law and the military commissions process undermines the rule of law. The Government has abandoned Mr Hicks, despite the fact he may remain locked up for years if the new Military Commissions are challenged.
According to Australian psychiatrists, David Hicks is exhibiting signs of mental illness following his five years in solitary confinement. Article 110 of the Third Geneva Convention entitles David Hicks to immediate repatriation to Australia, pending trial before a properly constituted court of law. The return of David to Australia would be entirely consistent with the precedent established by the return of British subjects held in similar circumstances, said Senator Allison.
"It is clear that Mr Hicks is suffering badly from his inhumane treatment at Guantanamo Bay, and this must not be allowed to continue, said Senator Stott Despoja.
We trust that the United States Congress will share our concern that current arrangements are unjust and contrary to principles that our respective parliaments have for centuries nurtured and cherished, concluded Senator Allison.
http://www.democrats.org.au/print/index.htm?url=/news/index.htm?press_id=5663 (1 of 2)26/02/2007 11:09:23 AM