Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Rudd must demand immediate release of Hicks and support his right to speak out-Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alliance spokesperson Raul Bassi today called on the ALP to denounce the deal forced upon David Hicks by the US military commission at Guantánamo Bay.
(Bassi is a well-known activist in the movement to free Hicks and was also the election campaign manger for Mamdouh Habib, Australia’s only other Guantánamo detainee, in his recent campaign for the New South Wales seat of Auburn.)
Bassi said: “Kevin Rudd admits hat the US military commissions are flawed. He also claims that the ALP is ‘a defender of Mr Hicks’ legal rights and his human rights’. Now is the time to prove it. The deal to which Hicks has signed up with the US kangaroo court in Guantánamo Bay has no legal or moral validity.”
“Everyone knows that what his father Terry Hicks says is true: the deal David struck with his torturers was to get out of the nightmare that is Guantánamo. The only other release would have been that taken by other prisoners—suicide.”
Bassi added: “The whole shape of the deal—from the ‘lenient’ 9-month sentence in a South Australian jail through to the gag on public comment—is designed to help save John Howard’s hide at the next poll.
“The extra nine months Hicks is to serve here have to be added to his five years in the hell of Guantánamo—he should be released immediately.”
The Alliance spokesperson stressed that even the US Secretary for Defence, Robert Gates, believes that trials held at Guantánamo “lack credibility”.
He also noted that Lex Lasry, the Law Council of Australia’s observer at Hicks’ trial, had noted that the trial “looked terrible”, with chief judge eliminating two thirds of Hicks’ defence team and then ruling, against defence objections, that he was “impartial”.
Bassi said: “The blatant coercion involved in this deal means that the ALP cannot simply treat David Hicks as one more Australian who has received a prison sentence abroad and is covered by international prisoner transfer agreements.
“Contrary to Kevin Rudd’s media statements the ALP is not duty-bound to support this kangaroo court nor the squalid settlement of Howard’s political problem cooked up between himself and George Bush.”
“The Socialist Alliance will be campaigning within the movement and alongside the Greens for the ALP to denounce this deal and really support Hicks' human rights.
“For our part we shall continue to demand the unconditional release of David Hicks and for the closure of Guantánamo. We call on all Australians who are outraged at the deal forced upon Hicks to participate in the April 21 National Day of Action in support of his rights:”