May 14, 2007
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