18 February 2007

David Hicks update

In the last few days there have been several media items about David Hicks, including two from Channel Nine's

  • The cover story "Caged Animal, David Hicks, A Nation's Shame"and whose website features a computer generated image based on reports from recent eyewitnesses: to see it click here.
  • An interview with Foreign Minister Downer, which included this among several other equivocal statements:
LAURIE OAKES: Some newspapers are reporting this morning that John Howard is working to get David Hicks home before the Federal election, is that true?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, what we are trying to do is ensure that the trial takes place as quickly as possible so assuming that the trial goes ahead on schedule, then whether he's – whether David Hicks is convicted or he's acquitted, and we obviously make no judgment about that - but he should be able to come home to Australia before the end of the year. That is, if he's convicted we've made an arrangement with the Americans which was confirmed to me 10 days ago by the Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, that David Hicks will be able to serve his sentence or the remainder of his sentence in Australia. If he's acquitted, of course, he'll be allowed to go.

On ABC TV's Insiders Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Robert McLelland not surprisingly doubted Mr Downer's claims.(Transcript is not available at time of posting - promised for later - but item can be viewed using Windows Media/ Real Player.)

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