Monday, 2 April 2007

Kay Danes on the fate of Guantánamo Bay prisoner, David Hicks

David was on his way to Gitmo when I was on my way home from Laos. Most of us who have experienced unlawful detainment in a foreign jail understand completely, that justice is often unattainable. Sometimes you make the best deal you can in order to go home. My husband and I were almost forced to ransom our integrity against our freedom... so difficult to endure such horrendous conditions and then at the end of it.. .listen to your government telling you that that's the best [offer] they can negotiate. I'm not ungrateful because unlike David Hicks and his family, Kerry and I and our family had all the support in the world from our Government. But that we still endured unlawful detention, an unfair trial, a pre-judgement before a court proceeding, a sentence before we were even charged, tortured and ill-treated and labelled as something we were not.... is something I will never forget and would never want my fellow Australians to ever have to endure.

No matter who we are, where we are, or what it is that we are alleged to have done.... we all deserve to have our rights upheld by our Government.

David Hicks will now be forced to bide his time until he finds the strength to put his life back together. I imagine he'll find it difficult when everyone is calling him a terrorist. But I will simply think of him as a young man who wanted to believe in a just cause and got a little lost along the way. Hopefully he can use these experiences to make his life positive and something that he can be proud of, and his family.

We all make mistakes, some bigger than others... some really stupid... some we don't know how or why we made them... some more public than others... but I have faith that David's journey will be one that many in our community can examine and learn from.

Justice has not been served. Once again, justice has become a victim. David did not get a fair trial. There was no cross examination of evidence or challenge to any defence... he was left with no option but to accept whatever they gave him in order to go home. Just as my husband and I were forced to accept what the communist Laos government and Australian Government decided for us. We are after all simply ordinary Australians who don't mean all that much in the grand scheme of things!

David has been told to go home and shut up! It's exactly what we were told to do.... only I didn't!

Kay Danes

International Human Rights Advocate
Foreign Prisoner Support Service

Author Website:
Latest world-wide release - 'Nightmare in Laos' - A True story of a woman imprisoned in a communist gulag.