Thursday 20th of June 2019

perverting the course of justice .....

 

perverting the course of justice .....

Private Members’ Business - Mr David Hicks

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (4.23 pm)—I move: That the House:

(1) acknowledges that the ongoing detention without trial of David Hicks is inconsistent with both international and Australian legal standards (including the principle of habeas corpus) and contravenes the individual rights and protections for which these standards provide;

(2) acknowledges that the newly revised rules for the US Military Commissions under which David Hicks is to be tried, but under which no US citizen can or will be tried, remain in breach of both the Geneva Conventions and the Australian Criminal Code and for this reason, do not constitute a fair trial but instead set an unacceptable precedent for the detention and trial of an Australian citizen overseas, especially by sanctioning the use of hearsay evidence and evidence obtained by coercion and by not permitting the accused to be privy to all the evidence;

(3) notes that one of the charges laid against David Hicks relies on the use of retrospective legislation, while the Government asserts that he cannot be tried in Australia because it would require retrospective legislation;

(4) calls for the immediate repatriation of David Hicks to Australia to face trial under Australian law;

(5) urges members of the United States Congress to help facilitate David Hicks’ repatriation to Australia by passing a resolution in Congress to this effect;

(6) calls on the Government to release advice provided by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions concerning the viability of charging David Hicks in Australia;

(7) acknowledges that we in this place have a responsibility to monitor and protect the welfare and rights of Australian citizens imprisoned overseas; and for this reason:

(8) calls for an immediate and independent assessment of the mental and physical health of David Hicks by relevant experts to ascertain the validity of allegations made concerning the deteriorating well being of David Hicks;

(9) seeks concrete assurances that any such assessment will not jeopardise or in any way prejudice the treatment of David Hicks whilst he is in Guantanamo Bay; and

(10) acknowledges that the ongoing imprisonment of David Hicks, and the denial of his basic rights, runs counter to the principles of freedom and democracy in the name of which the ‘war against terror’ is being fought, and threatens to undermine the international effort to combat terrorism.

I move this motion today because, like a growing number of Australians, I believe that the ongoing detention without trial of David Hicks is both unlawful and in serious breach of Mr Hicks’s human rights. The detention without trial of David Hicks and allegations concerning his mistreatment and possible torture in Guantanamo Bay go to the very heart of why we have a body of international law that protects the rights and welfare of individuals against the misuse of power, especially when it results in injustice or inhumane treatment.

An unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law, combined with an unwavering commitment to the individual rights provided for under humanitarian and human rights law, must provide the standard benchmark for how David Hicks is to be treated. This has not been the case, and it is for this reason that a growing chorus of opposition against David Hicks’s continued detention at Guantanamo Bay now exists in Australia.

This opposition is built around three fundamental concerns: firstly, public concern over reports that David Hicks’s mental and physical health are deteriorating as a result of his long-term detention at Guantanamo Bay; secondly, public opposition to the way David Hicks continues to be denied his basic legal and human rights and to the way the rule of law has been subverted in the attempt to have him tried; and, thirdly, public anger over the way the Howard government has simply abandoned David Hicks and, in the process, has failed in its basic duty of care to protect the rights and welfare of an Australian citizen held in detention overseas.

To this country’s great shame, the Howard government has not demanded that David Hicks be returned home to face trial in Australia, as the United Kingdom and other Western states have done, and it is the only Western government that is prepared to accept the US military commissions as a substitute for what should be a free and fair trial for David Hicks in a civilian court.

The ongoing detention without trial of David Hicks is inconsistent with both international and Australian legal standards, including the principle of habeas corpus.

Rather than admit to this, the Howard government has instead sought to denigrate and dismiss those who speak out against the mistreatment of David Hicks and who seek to defend his basic legal right to receive a fair trial by accusing them of not taking the threat of terrorism seriously.

My response is simply this: any war which relies on suspending individual rights and the rule of law in the name of combating terrorism comes perilously close to eroding the very democracy and freedoms that it purports to defend.

History teaches us that the interests of freedom and democracy are never served by temporarily suspending or deferring them. Rather, these interests can only be served by rigorously adhering to the basic legal and human rights that freedom and democracy provide for us. I want to refer to the distinguished writer Arthur Koestler, who reminds us in his book Darkness at Noon that the end never justifies the means.

The newly revised rules for the military commissions under which David Hicks is to be tried, but under which no US citizen can or will be tried, remain in breach both of the Geneva convention and of the Australian Criminal Code, especially in the way they sanction the use of hearsay evidence and evidence obtained by coercion and in not permitting the accused to be privy to all the evidence.

Whilst the government has argued that only the military judge who is presiding over Mr Hicks’s case can sanction the use of such evidence, it fails to add that, under the military commission system, the US Secretary of Defense has unprecedented power to determine the rules and procedures for how these military judges will be selected.

In addition, these US military commissions seek to remove the application of the Geneva convention and make it impossible for detainees like David Hicks to challenge the legality of their detention.

The Attorney-General admits that neither he nor the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has seen the evidence against David Hicks, yet the government continues to argue that David Hicks cannot be tried in Australia. Based on what evidence?

And whilst he continues to argue that David Hicks cannot be tried in Australia because it would require retrospective legislation, the most recent charges laid against David Hicks rely on the use of retrospective legislation.

In the face of growing expert legal opinion suggesting that Mr Hicks can be tried here, it is incumbent on the government to release the advice provided by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions concerning the viability of charging David Hicks in Australia. I believe that it is time to bring David Hicks back home to receive a fair trial in the interests of preserving and protecting his basic rights and in the interests of upholding the rule of law.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hatton)—Is the motion seconded?

Mr Tanner—I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

Howard angry the joke has taken so long

Howard's Hicks deadline a joke, says Labor

The Federal Opposition says the United States has ignored the Prime Minister's deadline for charges to be laid against Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.

Last month John Howard asked US authorities to charge Hicks by mid February.

Charges against him have been sworn but will not officially be served until the US military commission's convening authority approves them.

Department of Foreign Affairs officials would not tell a Senate estimates hearing if charges were "officially laid", just that the charging process was under way.

Labor Senator John Faulkner told the hearing the US had thumbed its nose at Mr Howard.

"Mr Howard's deadline has been treated as a joke," he said.

Betrayal of justice

From the ABC

Govt working for Hicks guilty verdict: Fraser

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser says the United States and Australian governments are working to ensure Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks is found guilty.

Mr Fraser has addressed eminent Australians, academics and teachers at a human rights education conference at the University of Melbourne.

He says the Howard Government has done nothing to stop the delays and torturous conditions at Guantanamo Bay.

"After five years of quite inhumane and degrading treatment, a verdict of innocence would be extraordinarily embarrassing to both governments, perhaps enough to defeat a government as more and more Australians really come to understand the nature of government's betrayal of the rights of an Australian citizen," he said.

"On this analysis, the United States cannot and clearly will not allow a fair trial."

 

"Worse than lucifer" himself

From the ABC

Charges used to demonise Hicks: lawyer

David Hicks's Australian lawyer says new charges brought against his client are an attempt to demonise Hicks at a time when the political climate is turning in his favour.

New allegations made against the Guantanamo Bay inmate have been dismissed as vague and fatuous by his lawyer, David McLeod.

The Pentagon has released charge sheets alleging Hicks did surveillance training, collected intelligence on a US embassy in Afghanistan and armed himself with weapons intended for use against the US.

But Mr McLeod argues that there is nothing new about the charges.

"You would think that there would be a clearer picture as to what it is that David is alleged to have done, and yet we are still met with vague assertions involving staking out of embassies that were closed and had been closed for 12 years, attempting to murder people when it's admitted that he hasn't fire a shot at anyone," he said.

 

I must be deamin'

From our ABC

PM may struggle to hold Bennelong

A poll out this morning indicates Prime Minister John Howard may face a battle to hold his own seat at the next federal election.

A poll conducted by Roy Morgan Research, for the Crikey website, has found Labor is ahead in Mr Howard's Sydney seat of Bennelong 55 to 45 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

The poll of 400 Bennelong voters was carried out in the middle of last week.

It also revealed a 75 per cent approval rating for Kevin Rudd compared to 44 per cent for the Prime Minister.

The ABC contacted the Prime Minister's office this morning but there was no comment on the Bennelong polling.

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Gus: A rat caught in a cage-trap will look at you with begging dark sad eyes, to release it from the cage, but will bite your pollus as soon as you set it free...

shame .....

The NSW Supreme Court has frozen assets relating to the sale of a revealing book by former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks as Commonwealth prosecutors attempt to seize all proceeds from the sale of the book.

The Commonwealth claims that money from the sale of Mr Hicks's book, Guantanamo, My Journey, which is about his six-year ordeal in the notorious prison, are the proceeds of crime.

About 30,000 copies of the book, published by Random House, have been sold since it went on sale last year.

In response to an application from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Justice Peter Garling issued a restraining order in relation to two assets connected to the sale of the book - a trust fund called the Misha Family Trust and a company called Lakeside Pty Ltd.

Under section 20 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, a restraining order can be imposed if "there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed an indictable offence ... and that the person has derived literary proceeds in relation to the offence".

Court Freezes Proceeds Of Hicks Book