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The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is calling on the Australian Government to secure real justice for Australian citizen David Hicks. The call follows a Pentagon announcement of a resumption of military commission hearings at Guantanamo Bay.

Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the ACSJC said, “For more than three-and-a-half years David Hicks has been held by the U.S. authorities – for most of this time without being charged.

“One year was a problem, two years a grave concern. But over three years being held in these conditions is appalling and should set alarm bells ringing for all Australians who value their basic human rights.

“Only recently David Hicks was charged by US authorities with conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. And it is unlikely that subsequent changes to the military commissions that would make them function more like a traditional judge and jury will ensure a fair trial.

“Legal experts in Australia and overseas have criticised the military commission process. The Law Council of Australia has said the proposed changes to the military commissions amount to ‘tinkering around the edges’ and that the standard of justice remains inferior to that afforded before a non-military court.

“Australians believe that all citizens are entitled to their day in court and the protection of the rule of law should they be accused of an offence. We believe this right must be guaranteed, regardless of the nature of the charges against an individual. David Hicks should have access to the ordinary processes of justice if he has done anything wrong.

“The detention of David has gone on for too long. I call on the Australian Government to use its best endeavours to end the detention of David Hicks. It should do this by either seeking a proper trial before a non-military court or returning him to Australia”, Bishop Saunders concluded.