Howard government found guilty in Guantanamo Bay

March 27, 2007

In response to the announcement today that David Hicks has plead guilty to US charges of terrorism, the Sydney Stop the War Coalition said it would continue to fight for his release and freedom in Australia.

Davis's plea represents nothing more than the strain of five years of torture and imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay. It is an understandable response to the threat of having to spend two more years suffering this treatment at the hands of US authorities and being ignored by the Howard Government," said Marlene Obeid, a Coalition activist who helped found the Sydney campaign to bring David home.

This plea made after such ill-treatment is not a real admission of guilt. After all, other Guantanamo prisoners have been tortured into giving false confessions.รข€

The Howard Government is guilty of support for torture in Guantanamo Bay. Bioethicist Steven Miles has collected evidence that proves US authorities in Guantanamo use sleep deprivation, prolonged stress positions, forced IVs and force feeding treatments. This is what has prompted David's guilty plea, not his actions in Afghanistan, said Ms Obeid.

The Howard government's support for Bush's war on terror has meant Canberra has abandoned the notion of the rule of law. The prisons and military commissions have no legitimacy; the system is constructed to 'encourage' guilty please and obtain guilty verdicts", said Ms Obeid.

The Howard government is hoping that Hick's plea will absolve it of its dirty role in David's ordeal. But the campaign to free David will continue, said Shannon Price. Every day that Hicks spends in prison is a reminder that Howard and Bush are the real terrorists. Real justice will be done when Hicks is out of prison, paid compensation for his unnecessary suffering, and a free man not subject to a control order.

Stop the War Coalition is organising the Sydney part of a national day of protest on April 21, at 12 noon at Sydney Town Hall, to demand justice and freedom for David Hicks.