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Hicks to fly home next week: Downer
May 14, 2007

David Hicks should be back in Australia next week, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

Mr Downer today said all the paperwork had been pretty much completed and there were no legal obstacles to Hicks' return to Australia.

But, he said, some details were yet to be finalised, including the chartering of an aircraft, the route it would follow and relevant security arrangements for someone who had confessed to involvement with a terrorist organisation.

Mr Downer said Hicks would be back in Australia before May 29.

"He won't be back before the weekend but anytime from Sunday onwards he's likely to come back. We haven't got a particular date for it yet," he told Adelaide radio 5AA.

The Adelaide-born Muslim convert, captured with Taliban militants in Afghanistan in late 2001, has been detained at the US military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since early 2002.

Hicks was sentenced in March to a total of seven years jail with all but nine months suspended after pleading guilty before a US military commission to supporting terrorism.

He will serve out the remainder of the nine months at a jail in Adelaide and is expected to be released at the end of December.

Mr Downer said it was a matter for the Australian Federal Police to decide if Hicks should be placed on a control order.

"The federal police will obviously make an assessment about the security implications of David Hicks being released from the end of the year," he said.

"On the back of that assessment, if they are concerned that he might engage in activities that will be a threat to the community, they will make an application to a judicial officer, a magistrate or to a judge, for a control order which may or may not be granted."

- AAP

  • David Hicks Case Information

  • Stop slurring my son: Hicks dad
    May 14, 2007

    Stop slurring my son: Hicks dad TERRY Hicks has challenged the Rann Government to stop calling his son David a "convicted terrorist" ahead of his imminent transfer to a South Australian prison.

    "All the statements from the Rann Government show they haven't really looked at the charges," Mr Hicks said.

    "There's nothing in the charges that say he pled guilty or that he's a terrorist. There's nothing that says David tried to hurt anyone."

    In March, Hicks was sentenced to seven years' jail, with all but nine months suspended, after pleading guilty to a charge of providing material support for terrorism at a trial by a US military commission.

    The Adelaide-born Muslim convert, captured among Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001, admitted having trained with the al-Qa'ida terrorist network. But the plea followed US military prosecutors dropping a charge of attempted murder.

    Mr Hicks said he did not expect to see his son until he was in Adelaide's Yatala prison, where he is due to serve another nine months before being eligible for release.

    Hicks is expected to return to Australia by May 29, according to a deadline agreed by the US military.

    But Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday logistical issues were still being finalised to ensure Hicks's return by the end of the month. He was unlikely to be repatriated by next week, Mr Downer said.

    Hicks's Australian lawyer, David McLeod, flew from Adelaide yesterday to Guantanamo Bay to advise him on signing transfer documents.

    "It feels terrific -- this is the seventh trip to Guantanamo Bay for me, and who would have thought it would take seven visits to achieve what should have been done a long time ago?" Mr McLeod said at the airport.

    Mr Hicks's challenge was in response to the latest attack on his son by the Rann Government. On Friday, Acting Premier and Treasurer Kevin Foley labelled him a "convicted and self-confessed terrorist".

    "He will be brought back to Adelaide, to Yatala labour prison, with thehighest possible security," Mr Foley said. "As (Premier Mike Rann) has said, we have serious and grave concerns about how the federal Government intends to monitor Mr Hicks when he leaves prison."

    Asked to clarify his statement on Hicks's record, he said: "Somebody who provides material support for a terrorist, in my book is a terrorist."

    Additional reporting: AAP

  • David Hicks Case Information

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