30 January 2007

Lawyer at last meets client and expresses concerns about treatment

The Australian, The Age, The Washington Post , The New York Times and the ABC report that David McLeod, David Hicks' Australian lawyer, has visited his client in Guantanamo Bay.

From the ABC website:

Mr McLeod told ABC radio's
PM program that Mr Hicks was chained to the floor of the cell where he is kept for 22 hours a day, and was clearly despairing of his situation."His visage was an extremely sorrowful one," he said."It took us some time to discuss the matters that had occurred in Australia with him, and to convince ourselves that he was in a position to understand what we were imparting to him."

Mr McLeod has likened the US military prison to a Nazi death camp and says he will take his concerns to American authorities."He continues to be locked up for 22 hours per day," he said."He tells me that he's only seen the sun three times since the beginning of December last year when he was moved."
Mr McLeod reports that his client is chained to the floor for 22 hours a day and has not seen sunlight for months.

From The Washington Post website:

"He has no privacy whatsoever ... his toilet paper is rationed, he hasn't been able to comb his hair since going there because he's not provided with a comb or brush," he [ McLeod]said.

Tonight the ABC claims that Attorney-General Ruddock has asked for a further report:

"I've asked that an assessment be carried out and that be dealt with as a matter of urgency and I think informed views on this matter should await some more detailed assessment," he said.

A few days ago Foreign Minister Downer was satisfied with a comment by a US embassy media officer that Hicks was in "reasonably good shape". Now a more detailed assessment is required. When and where will it all end?

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