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Bishop says Govt can do more for Hicks and Habib

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders has written to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock calling on the Government to do more to secure natural justice for the two Australians detained by US Authorities at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib have been detained for two years for suspected involvement with terrorist organisations. But they have not been charged with any crime and are yet to be brought before any court. They are not permitted contact with their families or legal representation.

Bishop Saunders said reports from reputable human rights agencies such as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross have raised concerns about the conditions in which they are being held - apparently indefinitely.

But, he said, "Encouraging is the news that the US Supreme Court is willing to rule on a case that could determine that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a right to challenge the legality of their detention in a US court."

Bishop Saunders' main point was the the Australian Government "could do more to secure the fundamental rights due to these Australians under the international laws to which Australia and the US are both parties".

He said: "The ACSJC urges the Government to make every effort to end the indefinite detention of these two citizens and to ensure they have access to the ordinary process of justice through the laying of charges to be brought before a civilian court."

Government can do more for Hicks and Habib (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)

Howard, Blair press prisoners' cause (The Age)
Guantanamo escape may be justified: Kirby (Sydney Morning Herald)
Guantanamo Bay goes to court (

13 Nov 2003