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New setback for Hicks.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Australian Democrats spokesperson for Attorney Generals

Dated: 21 February 2007 Press Release Number: izbmilvy Portfolio: Attorney General & Justice Related: Attorney Generals

Related: Foreign Affairs

New setback for Hicks

The Australian Government has been forced into a corner following the US Court of Appeals ruling, according to the Australian Democrats.

"News today that enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay have been barred from using US civilian courts to challenge their detention in Cuba, is a significant setback for David Hicks," Democrats' Attorney-General's Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"The Australian public should be left in no doubt that the US Court of Appeals decision is likely to delay further any chance David Hicks has of receiving a fair trial.

"The Government must make a decision to bring David Hicks home now, which Prime Minister Howard has admitted could have happened all along. Otherwise, it continues to abandon an Australian to the Guantanamo process and faces political fallout.

"It is clear the only reason the Government has now changed its position on David Hicks situation in recent weeks is that we are now in an election year and the polls are turning against the Governments stance on this issue.

"Yesterday, the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, highlighted that any further delays in Hicks trial would force the Government to look at other options, including the possibility of imposing a control order.

"Mr Ruddock also claimed the reason the Government had not sought Mr Hicks immediate release was because they believed in the rule of law. How can the Australian Government defend the operation of Guantanamo Bay, when it defies fundamental principles of the rule of law, an essence of which is habeas corpus, a foundation of any democracy?

"Mr Ruddock also said the Government wanted to see the trial dealt with as soon as possible. The notion that Mr Hicks' trial is being dealt with expeditiously is laughable, as the SBS TV audience showed last night.

"When is the Australian Government going to stand up to the US, and say enough is enough?"