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Sydney: transcript of doorstop interview: Hicks, Woomera.



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Event: DOORSTOP INTERVIEW Date: 19/12/2001 Time: 09:50 AM WILLIAMS TALKS ABOUT DAVID HICKS, WHO IS IN THE HANDS OF THE US. INTERVIEWEES: DARYL WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY-GENERAL

DARYL WILLIAMS: I wanted to just update you on the situation regarding Mr Hicks in Afghanistan. Mr Hicks was transferred a couple of days ago from the custody of the Northern Alliance to the United States military and he was then transferred to a United States ship. Now, we have just recently been advised that the United States authorities will grant access to an ASIO and AFP team to interrogate Mr Hicks. Discussions are going on now as to when and where and under what circumstances that will occur. We're not able to at this time to put any timeframe on it.

QUESTION: What's the likelihood of extradition?

DARYL WILLIAMS: Well, at this point we don't have enough information to be making the sorts of decisions that people want answers to. We want to keep the public informed, but we can't just speculate about a person having committed possible criminal offences when we don't have complete information.

QUESTION: Has the US expressed a desire to charge him at all?

DARYL WILLIAMS: There hasn't been any discussion about that subject as far as I'm aware. We still want to interrogate the man before there's any discussion of that type entered into.

QUESTION: What kind of legal representation has been offered to Mr Hicks at the moment?

DARYL WILLIAMS: What is proposed is that he will be interrogated by an ASIO IFP team. He was captured by the Northern Alliance in a conflict situation, he's held in military custody and whatever is the appropriate practice in that context will be followed. I do not imagine that he will be offered legal representation in these present circumstances. If and when he is charged with any offence then different considerations might apply.

QUESTION: Another riot at Woomera last night, Mr Williams, what's your reaction?

DARYL WILLIAMS: Well, I think it's outrageous that people who are seeking to enter this country unlawfully and then using our immigration system to apply for temporary protection visas should be destroying property paid for by taxpayers.

QUESTION: Mr Williams, do you have any concerns for the large number of children inside the centre now?

DARYL WILLIAMS: I have concern for anybody when others are seeking to damage property, particularly setting fire to facilities that are provided for their convenience. The Australian Federal Police and the South Australian Police are investigating and I sincerely hope that those who are responsible for these outrageous acts are charged and dealt with according to law.

QUESTION: It seems an untenable situation with children witnessing fires, riot police arriving, water cannon's it just seems untenable.

DARYL WILLIAMS: I agree, it's entirely unsatisfactory and that's why we want to identify those responsible and remove them and deal with them appropriately.

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