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FAQ About David

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Was David Hicks tortured?
There is evidence that all detainees, including David Hicks, were subjected to conditions that contravene the Convention against Torture. These include being subjected to violent beatings that resulted in broken bones, isolation (complete incommunicado), sleep deprivation, stress positions, sensory deprivation/bombardment, temperature extremes, sexual abuse, medical experimentation, mock executions (including during interrogations) and psychological torture techniques. Evidence of the beatings David endured in the form of statements was obtained by David’s military lawyer, Lt Col Michael Mori, however, the current US administration refuses to release them. There are also photos of David naked, shackled and hooded locked away in the Pentagon.

There is evidence that David,  as well as other Guantanamo prisoners, was subjected to injections of substances of an unknown origin.  David’s medical records indicate that he was given a drug called Mefloquine that is used to treat Malaria. This particular drug was banned from the US military as it caused serious side effects, including hallucinations, agitation and psychosis.

Until there is a large scale independent and thorough investigation (not conducted by the US government), we will never know the full extent of the torture endured by Guantanamo Bay detainees- including David Hicks. TJC is calling on the Australian government to order an independent and open investigation in relation to David Hicks.

Isn’t David Hicks free?
Whilst David Hicks lives freely in the community and has been formally cleared, the impact of torture lives with him every day and this affects his day to day living. David Hicks endured many years of incarceration in Guantanamo Bay and his health is ailing as a result of his treatment.

Isn’t David Hicks a convicted terrorist?
David has never been accused of hurting anyone, participating in, supporting, preparing for or knowing about the preparation of a terrorist act. The final charge in the Military Commissions hearing was one count under the Material Support for Terrorism charge- which was foreign to Australian and international law- that did not accuse him of personally supporting terrorism, rather, it was alleged that he ‘associated’ with an organisation that supported terrorism.

David Hicks was formally cleared in February 2015.

Didn’t David Hicks ‘confess’ to supporting terrorism?
David’s legal team submitted what is called the Alford Plea. This is a US based plea in which an accused person can agree to plead guilty whilst maintaining innocence. David has always maintained his innocence and strongly denies that he was involved with any terrorist organisations. The statements that David signed in Guantanamo Bay were obtained as a result of torture.

Has David Hicks hurt anyone?
Even in the ‘created’ charges, there has never been an allegation that David engaged in a violent act against any person. There has never been any evidence to the contrary.

David Hicks had a fair trial, didn’t he?
Many people believe that the Military Commissions under the now defunct 2006 Military Commissions Acts are like normal courts. They are completely different. The military Commissions process was so flawed that President Obama has replaced it with a 2009 Military Commissions Act. A host of former Bush administration officials, including the chief prosecutor in David’s case also resigned due to the political interference and unfairness of the process.

David was asked to sign a plea deal which ensured he would be out of Guantanamo Bay in sixty days. The deal meant that there was never an opportunity for a trial because the deal had already been arranged, including the sentence.

Didn’t David Hicks break the law?
David Hicks has not broken any Australian Law- This includes all crimes under the Crimes Act. David Hicks actions were not illegal. The fact that David had not committed any crime was admitted by former Prime Minister John Howard himself.

Didn’t David Hicks undergo terrorist training?
There has never been any evidence to establish this. In fact, several independent sources, including the Australian Military, have confirmed that the training David received was basic and standard military training, poor in quality to that received by our Australian troops. There is no evidence that the training David undertook was linked to al-Qaeda. Research suggests that al-Qaeda recruited from the military camps, rather than actually training people there.

But, wasn’t David Hicks a member of a terrorist organisation?
David Hicks was not a member of a terrorist organisation and there is no evidence to prove that he was. At the time  David Hicks was undergoing military training in Kashmir and Afghanistan, LeT was not a designated terrorist organisation and the final charge sheet does not suggest that he was a member of al-Qaeda- the term was never mentioned in his letters home, and David states in his book that he did not hear of the organisation until he arrived in Guantanamo.

Did David Hicks fight against Australian or US troops?
No, there were no coalition forces on the ground in Kunduz at the time that David was there. David Hicks did not fire one shot outside of training- this was acknowledged by the U.S.

Does David Hicks want compensation?
David has repeatedly stated that all he wants is for the Australian government to recognise that the conviction is null and void, and the plea agreement unenforceable. David has requested that the Australian government assist him in his ongoing medical care that is as a direct consequence of members of the Howard government leaving him in Guantanamo Bay despite their knowledge of his torture and unlawful detention.

Should David Hicks be compensated?
David has repeatedly stated that all he wants is for the Australian government to recognise that the conviction is null and void, and the plea agreement unenforceable. However, TJC believes that he should be compensated and assisted with his medical expenses, as is provided in the Convention against Torture. Victims of crime deserve restitution under the law, especially now that we know the extent to which the Howard government was involved in detaining him.