Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Release David Hicks from Guantanamo Bay and censure Howard

I find it completely unacceptable that both George Bush and John Howard claim that setting up kangaroo courts (5 years in the making) outside of any country's established legal system and keeping David Hicks interred in inhumane conditions at Guantanamo Bay is a good and fair process. Clearly it is not.

I also find it completely unacceptable that both George Bush and John Howard justify this by saying that the detainees "have done bad and terrible things". They have provided no proof of this and there is no fair process for testing the evidence. Many of the detainees have now been released without any trial or charges, but not David Hicks.

Even the photo of David Hicks with a rocket launcher published in many newspapers is not relevant. It was taken in Kosovo, not Afghanistan or Pakistan.

John Howard has publicly made several allegations about David Hick’s involvement with terrorist groups, which have not been assessed by any independent legal process.

John Howard has also stated that “the Australian Government is satisfied that the United States Military commission process will provide the proper measure of justice to David Hicks”.

This is not supported by Australian legal experts, nor by the Blair government in Great Britain which stated that the Guantanamo Bay detainees would not be tried under fair standards and that the detainees rights to a fair trial and not to be tortured must not be compromised, and then got all UK detainees released.

John Howard appears to be guilty of a crime against humanity by supporting the “outside of law” treatment of David Hicks by the United States, in breach of his human rights.

It is a sad day when our political leaders take on the role of judge and jury and don’t respect the human rights of Australian citizens. Let us hope this aberration does not extend to them becoming executioners as well.

David Hicks should be immediately returned to Australia then either tried under the Australian legal system or released if no charges are laid.

For more information see Amnesty International report: Guantánamo Bay - a human rights scandal and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay

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