Free David Hicks vigil – 23 March

With Jack Thomas being re-arraigned today, the arraignment of David Hicks due on Monday, and arrests continuing in the follow-up to last November’s G20 protests, this week’s speakers were well chosen. The Law Institute of Victoria’s Dominique Saunders outlined “some legal issues as they currently stand”, and an anonymous speaker who wished to be identified only as ‘Jack’ put the recent actions against G20 protesters using ‘terror legislation’ in a context extending back to the WEF protests in September 2000 and their aftermath – most recently the payout to victims of police violence at that event.

Acting on a tip-off, as they say, I took a stroll down Swanston Street as far as St Paul’s, where the views of at least some church people were clearly visible:

Banner on Sp Paul's cathedral - Justice for David Hicks

Dominique Saunders –

dominique Saunders speaking

“Where we are now is that proceedings under the Military Commission Act [are] due to take place next week. This is with the arraignment of David Hicks. And he is one of 10 detainees charged under the previous military commission system thrown out by the US Supreme Court late last year. It’s our view that a trial even under the new regime still violates international law … “What they’ve done now is cobbled together an offence essentially … we all know, providing material suport for terrorism – that’s not a crime of war. Nor was it an offence at the time in 2001 when David Hicks was arrested… The issues then about retrospective application in relation to criminal offences [are] such a breach of the rule of law … The Constitution of the US also guarantees against retrospective criminal laws …
“When we’ve looked at the treatment of Australian citizens in other countries in recent years – if we look at Singapore or Indonesia, it would not be accepted that Australian citizens, even in these countries were dealt with a law peculiar to them and not to the citizens of Singapore or Indonesia …
“Until this issue is resolved [David Hicks] stays locked in his concrete box, with access to a reading room with no books …”

CRD t-shirts with a message:

T-shirts - contact your federal member ...

Protester with Get-up placard:

Placard - Bring David Hicks Home

The original post on Melbourne Indymedia included mp3 files of the main speeches. The following links may no longer be available:
Ongoing G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network, email