Response to Hicks letter from Minister’s office
In our last edition of Mercy M@tters we reported that Sister Caroline Ryan, on behalf of the Institute, had sent a letter to Prime Minister John Howard, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Minister Alexander Downer expressing concern about the continued detention of Australian citizen, David Hicks at
11 September 2006
Sister Caroline Ryan RSM
Institute Vice President
Mercy National Centre
LEWISHAM NSW 2049
Dear Sister Ryan
Thank you for your letter to Mr Downer dated 16 August 2006 concerning Mr David Hicks. Mr Downer has asked me to reply on his behalf.
There have been serious accusations made against Mr Hicks arising from acts allegedly committed by him whilst overseas. Like all Australians who travel overseas, Mr Hicks is liable to the laws of foreign jurisdictions and must expect to face foreign courts if he is charged with a breach of those laws. Mr Hicks was charged by US authorities in relation to these allegations with three very serious offences: conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent, and aiding the enemy.
Mr Hicks was to be tried on these charges before a military commission in
As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan’s case, the US Administration needs to decide on an alternative method to try Mr Hicks in relation to these allegations. I note that the US Administration recently presented to Congress a Bill to bring to justice
The Australian Government provides consular assistance to Mr Hicks, as we do for all Australians facing court or in gaol overseas. Australian officials visit Mr Hicks at
Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Government.
International Legal Branch