July 8, 2006
GUANTANAMO BAY inmate David Hicks told his father yesterday he
did not know whether he would survive another year in the US
detention centre, saying he was being "pushed all the time" since
three suicides there last month.
Terry Hicks broke the news yesterday to his son about last
week's historic decision by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that
the military commission set up to hear his case was illegal and a
violation of the Geneva Conventions and US military law.
In their first conversation since Christmas, Mr Hicks was
allowed to speak to his son for a little over two hours yesterday,
along with other members of the Hicks family and his Australian
lawyer, David McLeod.
Mr Hicks said that while his son was pleased about the court
victory he was depressed that he was not being released.
"That means I could be here for another 12 months or more and I
can tell you now, I don't know whether I can last that long," Hicks
told his father. "You don't realise how much pressure we are under
here, the guards are absolute pigs."
Hicks has been held in Guantanamo Bay for 4½ years, much of
it spent in solitary confinement. The Prime Minister, John Howard,
said this week he would not ask for Hicks to be released. He said
he still wanted Hicks tried by the US.
The Howard Government had backed the military commission process
as a fair means of trying Hicks. He was one of the first Guantanamo
Bay inmates to be selected for military commission trial, and the
court decision striking them down is a major setback for the Bush
The White House and Congress are now attempting to set up a new
process for hearing the cases, but it is unlikely the legislation
will be passed in the near future.
Following three suicides at the camp last month, Hicks told his
father yesterday that the guards had "locked down" the
He said his books, table and chair, pen and paper had been
removed, he had received no letters and spent most of his time in
solitary confinement lying on a concrete floor. He said the guards
would turn the air conditioning on full, make loud noises and
sometimes take his clothes away.
"Just listening to him talk he was so angry," Mr Hicks told the
Herald. For 45 minutes his son told him about the conditions
at the camp and said suicide was one of the few ways to get back at
the guards. While he insisted he was not suicidal himself, he told
his father: "We're being pushed, pushed, pushed all the time. Don't
be surprised if things happen."
Hicks was given only 30 minutes' notice of the phone call and
was told at the same time he was being shifted to Camp Echo, out of
solitary confinement. He apparently believed this meant he was
being released and was deflated when he realised his mistake.
Hicks's US lawyer, Major Michael Mori, was due to arrive at
Guantanamo Bay last night to explain the court decision to him.
David Hicks Case Information