March 30, 2007, New York
– The U.S. government required Guantánamo detainee David Hicks to agree
to a series of conditions in exchange for accepting his plea before the
military commission and releasing him to Australia to serve a sentence
of seven years for “material support” of a terrorist organization.
Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which
represented Hicks in the original Supreme Court case that established
the right of the detainees to challenge their detention in U.S. courts,
criticized the deal.
Hicks, who has been held mostly without charge for five years at the
base and complained of mistreatment in the past, has had to agree to a
gag order on speaking to the media for one year after his release and
to stating that he has never been mistreated while at Guantánamo and
that his detention was lawful pursuant to law of armed conflict. He was
forced to give up the right to sue over his treatment in the future and
made to promise to cooperate with investigators should the need arise.
In addition, he is forbidden from profiting from his story by, for
instance, publishing a book or selling movie rights and must turn over
any profits to the Australian government.
“David Hicks would agree to anything to get out of Guantánamo after
being trapped there for more than five years. The government is
attempting to silence criticism and keep the facts of their torture and
abuse of detainees from the public,” said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren.
Pointing to the fact that Hicks already outlined his torture and abuse
in an affidavit he dictated to his military attorney in 2004, Warren
added, “You can’t put torture back in a bottle.”
Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative said, “Even
pleading guilty wasn’t enough to free David from a ridiculously unfair
system designed from the start to hide the truth. The gag orders are
un-American, and, we hope, un-Australian as well.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents many of the detainees
at Guantánamo and coordinates the work of nearly 500 pro bono
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal
and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing
the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil
rights demonstrators in the South, CCR is committed to the creative
use of law as a positive force for social change."