01 April 2007

Guantanamo detainee David Hicks has been sentenced to nine months after pleading guilty to the new Military Commissions Act of providing material support for terrorism.

He is not allowed to speak to the media for one year as a part of the condition of his sentence. Here are what others have had to say:

Prime Minister John Howard: “He’s not a hero in my eyes and he ought not to be a hero in the eyes of any people in the Australian community… He pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation - namely al-Qaeda.”

Colonel Morris Davis: (Prosecutor): “We told [Howard and Ruddock] we would provide a fair trial, they took us at our word and I believe this week we accomplished that. So, I appreciate their support.”

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock: “The sentence proves that Hicks received a rigorous defence.”

Terry Hicks: “I believe it's too coincidental that David is kept out of sight until after the election… It’s political and designed to help the government's chances.”

Lex Lasry QC (Defence team): “As far as the Australian Government’s concerned it’s interesting that there’s an election in Australia later this year and Mr Hicks will be in custody until after it and he won’t be able to speak about his circumstances for another year.”

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer: “I have no concerns, I don’t mind whether he’s gagged or not ... I don’t know whether it would matter one way or the other to us so much.”

Treasure Peter Costello: “(It’s) a pretty stiff sentence but I must say for those people who say ‘poor David Hicks’, I say the poor dead and their families who died in the World Trade Centre and in the Bali bombings.”

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd: “We are no defenders of Mr Hicks; we are no defenders of what he has done or what he is alleged to have done. We are a defender of his legal rights and human rights.”

Senator Bob Brown: “This is more about saving Mr Howard’s political hide than about justice for Hicks… It is clearly a political fix arranged between Mr Howard and the Bush administration to shut Hicks up until after the election in November.”

Major Michael Mori (Defence team): “I’m not going to talk about private discussions I’ve had with government officials - US or Australian.”

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