By Sandra O'Malley
THE Opposition wants the Government to put more pressure on Kuwait to allow consular officials to visit an Australian citizen who says he has been tortured in jail.
The Government is confident it will soon be allowed consular access to Tallaal Adrey.
His family says he was arrested in Kuwait and charged over supplying weapons to suspected terrorists.
They claim he was tortured by two men whom Adrey said had Australian accents.
Australian consular officials are yet to be allowed to see him despite having made up to 18 representations to Kuwaiti authorities.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said Australia needed to use whatever pull it had with Kuwait to get access.
"I think the Australian government needs to apply greater diplomatic leverage in order to have access to this individual, so that the facts can be put before the Australian public as to what actually has happened here," Mr Rudd told ABC radio.
"I would have thought that Australia, as an ally of Kuwait in the first Gulf war, that we would have had a reasonable claim of access to this individual.
"That's the responsibility of the Australian government towards any Australians who are taken into custody by foreign governments."
Australian consular officials met Kuwait's Interior Minister, Sheikh Nawwaf al-Ahmed al- Sabah, yesterday.
A friend, Ali Hamdi, said today Adrey had no medical access and was in a bad psychological situation.
"He's in a bad (situation) psychologically and physically," he said on ABC Radio.
He said the family had little faith in the Australian government's efforts to help Adrey.
The ABC reported that Adrey had his mother smuggle out a letter which accused the government of racism.
"You've shown nothing but racism because I am an Arab and a Muslim," the ABC quoted him as writing.
"I am absolutely sure I will be exonerated and will face you and confront you before the law when you will be asked about your failure to assist me."
The Government is hopeful consular staff will soon be able to visit Adrey.
Defence Minister Robert Hill said he was confident Adrey would be allowed to meet consular officials once the formalities were addressed.
"We have a very good relationship with Kuwait, particularly in the war against terror we have been working hand in glove with the Kuwaiti authorities," he said.
"I think obviously there are formalities to be managed but I would be confident that, at an appropriate time, access to him would be provided."
Parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Bruce Billson said the Sheikh had indicated the officials should soon be able to visit Adrey.
"We were encouraged by that meeting," Mr Billson told the Nine network.
"The interior minister has indicated that access should be forthcoming shortly."
SOURCE: Herald Sun
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