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Hiding from Hicks: major parties quash inquiry motion

Media Release
Penny Wright 19 Nov 2012

The Federal Government and Opposition have continued to reject calls for an independent inquiry into the detention of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay by voting down a motion from Australian Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright.

Senator Wright's motion called on the Government to set up an independent inquiry into David Hicks' detention, treatment and trial in US custody and the role of the Australian Government.

"Witnesses have come forward about the horrific treatment of David Hicks and fundamental doubts have now been raised about the validity of his conviction. It is time there was a thorough investigation about how and why the Howard Government let this happen," Senator Wright said.

"The government has a responsibility to uphold the democratic and legal rights of its citizens and to investigate allegations of torture against any Australian.

"It is a great shame that this Government and the Opposition have found common ground in denying human rights and avoiding accountability."

The motion read:
I move that the Senate
(a) recognises that:
(i) the recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which found that providing material support for terrorism was not a war crime between 1996 and 2001 and therefore could not support a conviction, invalidates David Hicks' conviction for this crime;
(ii) In 2007, David Hicks was incarcerated in a South Australian prison for seven months as a result of negotiations between the Australian and US governments and on the basis of this invalid conviction;
(iii) In 2011, the Australian government instituted proceedings against David Hicks under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 on the basis of this invalid conviction; and
(b) calls on the Government to conduct an independent inquiry into David Hicks' detention, treatment and unfair trial while in US custody, as well as the role played by the Australian government in upholding the invalid and unlawful conviction.

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