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I can't take much more, Hicks tells his father
Marian Wilkinson
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 Administration.

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 facility.

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

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