Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hicks pleads guilty after being worn down in solitary

Fair Go For David Hicks
In an American military kangaroo court condemned worldwide, David Hicks has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge. The Australian was not even able to face the court until five long years in hell-hole conditions in Guantanamo Bay, much of it uncharged and in solitary confinement. Hicks's lawyers claim he was beaten, shackled, tortured and kept in a tiny cell with the lights on 24/7.

The following exchange took place today between ABC journalist and Senator Bob Brown:

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Well Bob Brown, David Hicks has pleaded guilty. Doesn't that justify the Government's decision to make him stand trial?

BOB BROWN: Not at all. David Hicks saw his sister and his dad there in the courtroom. He's met up with them. The urge to get home to Australia almost under any circumstances is overtaken him.

There's no way that this can be seen as a genuine guilty plea to a charge, by the way, which is retrospective, which wouldn't be recognised in any Australian court, and the idea that when he flies home to Australia, presumably to an Australian prison, which is what he has seen as the let out from the torture situation in the Guantanamo Bay gulag, that this will be the end of the matter is just not going to happen because Australians have a sense of justice.

It's long after the doubt over this guilty plea remains, history will have judged John Howard to have been guilty for this undignified process, for letting down the recognition that the Australian judicial system is second to none and for failing, like so many other countries from Britain to Saudi Arabia, to having this Australian brought home to the Australian judicial system.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: But the political heat is out of this issue now, isn't it? All…

BOB BROWN: Absolutely not. It starts afresh. Hicks has been brought before a kangaroo court, he's found his escape was to plead guilty - who wouldn't? - with his family there, he can get home close to them. Who wouldn't do that after the torture and the hellhole conditions in Guantanamo Bay?

But the injustice of it remains and the effrontery to the Australian legal system, which so many senior jurists in Australia have pointed out, of this whole derogation of justice, will fly home with Hicks to Australia.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: But will there really be the political pressure on John Howard now that he is a convicted terrorist?

BOB BROWN: Well, no. He's pleaded guilty, but under circumstances which wouldn't hold up in an Australian court, and that debate will fly home with Hicks.

And it's going to dog John Howard and his guilt in letting down the Australian nation and this, our nation's judicial system is going to dog him right the way to the ballot box in November.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: You will be making it a significant election issue obviously?

BOB BROWN: Well it is a significant election system [sic] that Howard has allowed himself to portray Australia as some subservient state to the Bush administration in this whole matter.

It's been disgraceful. It's a judicial outrage. Whatever Hicks may or may not have done, this is an affront to Australia as a nation. I'm proud of this nation and it's judicial system and I'm certainly not going to be, I'm going to be with millions of other Australians who feel this matter is far from settled.

It won't be settled until Hicks has either been charged and found guilty by an Australian court and then properly sentenced, or the Howard Government is out of office.

See also Hicks 'pleaded guilty to get out'

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