Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC), has called for the immediate release of Australian citizen David Hicks from detention at Guantanamo Bay.

‘David Hicks has been detained for more than five years, including long periods of solitary confinement. Only one charge has now been brought against Mr Hicks, and there are grave concerns as to its legality and that of the military commission process. The length and severity of his detention, and his dignity as a human being, make it imperative to end his detention now,’ Bishop Saunders said.

Speaking after a meeting of the ACSJC, Bishop Saunders pointed out that the tribunal process has been condemned by many authorities, including Australian and international academics, lawyers, legal societies and civil rights groups. The United States itself, and key allies, have refused to allow their citizens to be tried under these rules.

‘Australia and the United States have a proud record in supporting the highest legal principles, both within and outside their borders. It is essential that those principles continue to be observed.

‘Any legal process must be seen to dispense justice,’ Bishop Saunders said.