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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Public Forum: "JUSTICE FOR HICKS & HABIB" 

6pm, Saturday 29 May
Granville Youth & Community Recreation Centre
3a Memorial Drive, Granville


SPEAKERS:


- Maha Habib
- Terry Hicks
- Stephen Hopper
- Jeremy Styles (NSW CCL)
- SENATOR Kerry Nettle (THE GREENS)

CHAIRED BY: Donna Mulhearn (HUMAN SHIELD)


ENTRY BY DONATION
INFO: Tim Vollmer – 0404 273 313 / Marlene Obeid – 0401 758 871
www.nswccl.org / www.fairgofordavid.org / wspg.blogspot.com

"Free Hicks and Habib!"


David Hicks, an Australian citizen from Adelaide, was captured by rebel forces of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in November 2001, prior to the arrival of U.S. ground forces. Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen from Sydney, was detained by Pakistani Intelligence operatives in Pakistan on 5 October 2001. These two Australians, like most of the more than 600 Guantanamo prisoners, have been held for over two and half years. They have not been charged with any offence against any law of any country or any international convention. They have never engaged in hostile military acts against U.S. forces in the theatre of war in Afghanistan, a fact acknowledged by U.S. authorities.

Stephen Hopper, the lawyer representing Mr Habib, is concerned about Mr Habib’s mental health. According to Mr Hopper, Mr Habib was already on medication for chronic depression before his arrest in Pakistan. Mr Hopper has addressed these concerns to the Australian authorities, yet there has been no answer.

Major Michael Mori, the U.S. Marine Corps lawyer, appointed by the U.S. Military to represent David Hicks, has openly declared that a Military trial would be biased and unfair and only concerned with the conviction of the defendant. Under a Military Commission, the rules of evidence will not apply, and there is no guarantee that they will be freed, even if they are found not guilty.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has strongly condemned the decision by the Howard Government to ignore violations of the basic rights of these two Australians, stating that this is “…unprecedented and it leaves serious doubts about the prospects of government assistance for any citizen who is illegally detained while abroad”. The British Government has successfully obtained the repatriation and release of five of their nationals, whilst the Australian Government has not sought the repatriation of Messrs Hicks and Habib.

On Thursday 22 April 2004 2004, American lawyers representing David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, two British and 12 Kuwaiti detainees presented their case to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that U.S. courts have jurisdiction over the Guantanamo Bay. The Bush Administration has thus far successfully argued in the lower courts that foreign ‘enemy combatants’ have no rights under U.S. law.

About 175 British MPs, former U.S. prisoners of war, retired military officers and international bar associations filed briefs in support of the detainees’ case (SMH 22/4/04) and the Court’s ruling is expected to be handed down in June. A number of international institutions and eminent jurists believe that the detention of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib and in fact all the ‘detainees’ at Guantanamo Bay, is illegal and that therefore their rights under international law and U.S. law have been and continue to be denied. This includes their human and legal rights under the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Torture Convention and the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the U.S. and Australia are signatories.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

URGENT UPDATE!!!  

CHANGE OF MEETING DETAILS FOR THE WESTERN SYDNEY PEACE GROUP PUBLIC FORUM WITH KERRY NETTLE

As many regulars know, on top of several weeks of great media coverage on the ADI site the ADI Residents Action Group is holding a public meeting on “Can the ADI site be saved? If so, how, if not, why not?” This meeting will clash directly with the WSPG meeting on next Wednesday night. After consultation with Kerry Nettle’s office, it has been decided that she will attend the ADI RAG’s meeting, and the WSPG forum on “Iraq Under Occupation” will occur briefly at the conclusion of the ADI meeting at around 8:15.

So here are the new details:

“Can the ADI site be saved? If so, how, if not, why not?”


Speakers:


- Senator Kerry Nettle (Greens)
- David Bradbury (Penrith Mayor and ALP candidate for Lindsay)
TBC:
- Jackie Kelly (Federal Member for Lindsay, Liberal)
- Roger Price (Federal Member for Chifley)

When: 7pm, Wednesday May 5
Where: St Marys Memorial Hall, corner of Mamre Rd and Gt Western H'wy, St Marys


For further details contact Geoff Brown (Convener ADI RAG) on 0431 222602

The forum will be very interesting and we look forward to hearing the views of our local politicians. This public forum is the first opportunity for Jackie Kelly and David Bradbury, who are contesting the marginal federal seat of Lindsay, to square off against one another. We are expecting some fireworks from this event with all speakers previously supporting Lend Leases development and being at odds with current public sentiment.

There has been some great media coverage of the ADI site in the last few weeks, especially from the Daily Telegraph. During this time Jackie Kelly has admitted that “people power can still save the ADI site”, and NSW Premier Bob Carr has indicated that he would be willing to protect the entire site if it was handed over to NSW in the same manner as the Sydney harbour foreshore land.

Saving the ADI site is Sydney's most important environmental issue. Many thousands of Sydneysiders, especially those from the west, are now calling on Bob Carr to scuttle Lend Leases plans to buy and develop the ADI site by scrapping existing development plans and rezoning the site for conservation purposes.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Western Sydney Peace Group will continue by holding a brief forum with Senator KERRY NETTLE entitled “IRAQ UNDER OCCUPATION”.

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