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Hicks: enough is enough.
Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Attorney-General
Hicks: enough is enough
The US Military Commissions Act of 2006 was signed into law this week by President Bush. No charges under the new process have yet been laid against Mr Hicks.
“Now is the time, before new charges are laid, for the Australian Government to act urgently. Four and a half years in limbo is too long.
“If Mr Hicks can’t be given a proper, fair, trial immediately, he should be brought back to Australia. If he cannot be prosecuted here, as the Government claims, then our laws allow control orders to be used in proportion to the threat a person may pose to the community. Isn’t this the very reason the Government argued for such powers?”
Contrary to Mr Ruddock’s confidence in the new procedures, Ms Roxon is less sure of their adequacy.
“The US Administration’s first attempt at establishing Military Commissions - endorsed and embraced as appropriate by our Attorney-General - was thrown out by the Supreme Court in June when it was found to be unconstitutional.
“This new process will allow hearsay evidence, evidence obtained through questionable methods, and classified evidence that the defendant won’t see - and seems likely to also be questioned in the US Courts.”
“Given that Mr Ruddock was satisfied with the last dodgy process thrown out by the US Supreme Court - it is hard to accept his judgement that this one will be any better.”
“Rather than leaving Mr Hicks detained for several years more, Mr Ruddock should act now before he gets entangled in a new, possibly inadequate, process.”
And for Mr Ruddock to suggest today that the way to fix this matter is simply for Mr Hicks to plead guilty and use the US plea bargain process is just a distraction.
“While this course might be available and considered by Mr Hicks’ lawyers, the Attorney is simply trying to set up an excuse and shift blame for his Government’s own appalling abandonment of David Hicks.
“Earlier this year the Attorney was musing about a November deadline for resolution of this matter. Well the Attorney now has 12 days to make clear exactly what the Australian Government is doing to put an end to this absurd situation.”
Thursday, 19 October 2006 For more information call Allison Henry: 0417108 362 or 02 6277 2039