David Hicks Charged

Well whatever you think of the Hicks fiascoe you would have to agree it has grabbed much press over the past few years. I happen to think our government should have pulled their finger out a long time ago and dealt with David in Australian courts and um…well – leagally!
Have a read of this letter I got today –

Dear friends,

David Hicks has pleaded guilty to part of the single charge remaining against him – providing material support for terrorism.

Depending on which paper you read, the story is – after years of denial David Hicks has finally admitted he’s a terrorist. Or, that after five years in Guantanamo Bay with no prospect of a fair trial, David Hicks has done what any person would do, and bargained his way out.

But because the evidence against David Hicks will never really be tested in a proper court, we will never feel certain whether five years plus of punishment was given to an innocent or guilty man. Because unlike other governments, ours has failed to stand up for its citizen’s basic human and legal rights – and that matters more than what kind of man David Hicks is or isn’t.

The Federal Government has diminished Australia by legitimising an unfair and illegal system, by allowing an Australian, guilty or innocent, to be imprisoned year after year without trial despite serious reports of mistreatment and abuse; by failing to do what America, its allies and even its adversaries around the world did, which is to say “no citizen of ours will be treated this way.”

Our Government should stand shamed, not smirking. And to help remind our Prime Minister where the Australian people stand, we’ve got a delivery planned: 17,000 postcards from you, plus 10,143 directly from voters in the PM’s own electorate of Bennelong, demanding justice for David Hicks. Collected in just ten hours by GetUp members, that’s roughly one in every eight voters in Bennelong; people who, regardless of their opinion of David Hicks, have written directly to John Howard asking for justice.

That’s because they, and we, understand something the Prime Minister apparently doesn’t – that the values of a civilised society, including the prohibition against torture and freedom from imprisonment without a fair trial, are bedrock. They’re what we fight for when our soldiers are sent to war; they’re what we look to in times of uncertainty. They’re part of what separates us from the dictators and thugs we condemn. We invite you to share your thoughts on our blog.

From the beginning, this campaign has been about the values and rights of our democracy, and the power of people to defend those rights. It’s the community pressure that has shifted this debate, and we’re not ready to let up just yet. In the next few days, GetUp is publishing an Open Letter to the Prime Minister in the press, with the message that John Howard has lost his chance to defend Australian rights, but the Australian people still have the power to hold the Government accountable. You can donate to this campaign and help fund the full-page letter to John Howard here.

No one should have to bargain with their liberty because their basic rights have been abandoned. David Hicks has still not been judged by a fair legal process, and he is still not home. The Military Commission circus is set to roll on over coming days, raising further concerns about the lawfulness of his expected imprisonment back home. We know what justice looks like, and we will not let those who claim to represent the values of our democracy forget.

Thanks for being part of this,
The GetUp team

If you have trouble with the link in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au


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