Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Terry Hicks 'gagged' by Government

April 3, 2007 - Terry Hicks, the father of David Hicks, says he has been gagged from revealing facts about his son's five-year incarceration in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay...

Terry Hicks, the father of David Hicks, says the Australian government is trying to gag him from talking about his son's five years at Guantanamo Bay.

Terry Hicks says the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has written to him outlining a 12-month gag order issued to his son as part of his plea bargain, during which David Hicks cannot be interviewed, write a book or make a film about his time as an enemy combatant.

But the letter also detailed the restrictions on what the Hicks family could reveal about their conversations with David, Terry Hicks told News Limited newspapers.

"This is Big Brother, and because the Americans and the Australian government coalesce on David's charges, at this point in time we're ruled by them," Mr Hicks told News Limited. "If David tells us something, we can't pass it on. But I could still talk about the signing of his charges, things like he hasn't been abused."

Mr Hicks said the letter detailed the restrictions on what the Hicks family could reveal about their conversations with David.

A DFAT spokesman denied Mr Hicks' claims. "We have not written to Terry Hicks since the verdict," the spokesman said. "We communicated via email to his sister and provided two publicly available documents."

It is understood DFAT emailed Mr Hicks's daughter Stephanie, providing a statement of facts and a copy of Hicks's pre-trial agreement. Mr Hicks said his son's legal team was examining the contents of the letter.

Mr Hicks said he would continue to speak to the media but did not want to jeopardise the Australian jail term imposed on his son. He rejected suggestions that his son could pose a threat to national security when released in late December.

"David wouldn't hurt a bloody fly at the moment," he said. "David never did any harm to anyone when he was over there anyway. He wasn't armed, he hadn't fired a shot at any coalition forces. The only danger David is to anyone is to come back to Australia and probably have to go on the dole because he might find it hard to get a job."

The 31-year-old Australian pleaded guilty in a plea bargain with US authorities last week to providing material support to terrorists. Hicks has applied to be transferred to Adelaide.

Meanwhile, Hicks's Australian legal adviser David McLeod, repeated claims that the confessed terrorist was tortured in US custody. But Hicks's military lawyer Major Michael Mori stepped up behind Mr McLeod within minutes of his press conference, tapped him on the shoulder and told him he could not talk about Hicks's movement and activities within the detention camps.

Hicks's agreement, under which he will serve just nine more months in jail, flies in the face of an affidavit sitting with a British court in which he does allege abuse. The affidavit, reported in The New York Times last month, says the abuse occurred during interrogations in Afghanistan.

The Australian
The Australian

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