Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Guantanamo Bay still a human rights vortex

Amnesty reports: "In a deal hammered out over the weekend, Mr Hicks will return home to spend nine months in an Australian prison. A disquieting element of the deal prohibits Mr Hicks from discussing any element of his five year incarceration with the media and a declaration he was never tortured.

"The gag order on David Hicks, preventing him from raising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, ends any human rights scrutiny of his treatment over the past five years.

"This is particularly concerning in light of the many consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment made by other detainees and former detainees,” said Katie Wood, Amnesty International Australia's Campaign Coordinator.

Amnesty International Australia maintains that irrespective of the conclusion of the ordeal for David Hicks and his family, the military commissions process is unfair.

Amnesty International's observer to the proceedings, Jumana Musa noted that Mr Hicks’ hearing did do not bode well for the 60 to 80 people that the US Government claims it will prosecute under the military commission system.

"The proceedings reaffirm the need to close Guantánamo Bay as a matter of urgency and to end the lawlessness that it has come to symbolise. Governments and institutions around the world have called for the closure of Guantánamo Bay. While it seems that this particular case is winding down, our work is just winding up,” said Ms Musa.

Click here to hear a video message from the Chief Military Defense Counsel about the military commissions.

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