Free David Hicks vigil – 9 March

This week’s vigil – the eighth – was addressed by Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison; CRD representatives also summarised recent developments and answered some questions about the conduct of the campaign …
CRD speaker
There were new faces, and some of the ‘regulars’ were missing, so total numbers were about the same as previous weeks. Senator Allison focussed on the just-released expert legal advice from the Law Council of Australia, which concludes that “without doubt, this offence [the new charge of ?providing material support for terrorism?] is not a crime known to the law of war? and that “prior to the enactment of the Military Commissions Act last September the offence simply did not exist in its current form. Furthermore, the legal experts are of the view that the domestic US offences, on which the charge is roughly based, had no application to David Hicks in Afghanistan in 2001.” (See media release

A representative of CRD who introduced the vigil remarked on the ‘opportunism’ and ‘hypocrisy’ of politicians who have suddenly realised they are on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue: “This week we saw the date set for the trial of David Hicks, but there’s probably going to be another challenge to the legality of his detention in Guantanano Bay, and this will probably mean further delays. And in the context of that trial date, John Howard has been making a lot of noise about how he helped to speed up the Hicks trial after talking with George Bush and Dick Cheney. But what legal system in the world depends on private conversations between politicians to determine when a trial is going to take place …?”

Shannon Price went into some detail on the ‘nuances’ of the CRD campaign, especially regarding the linking of the David Hicks issue with the case of Jack Thomas, the Barwon 13, and the men currently facing committal hearings in Sydney. She also touched on the latest developments, including Alexander Downer’s offer to help fund a trip to Cuba for Terry Hicks, so he can be present when his son is arraigned …

A part of the gathering:

View of protest from the back

Senator Lyn Allison, wearing a ‘Bring David Hicks Home’ badge:

Lyn Allison by placard '1916 days'