David Hicks

PrisonersThe Geneva Convention

Article 3, Section 1

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

Hicks has been held at the US detention centre in Cuba since January 2002, after being detained while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan a few months earlier.

He has told of being tortured for 8 hours at a time, being forced to run in shackles which ripped the skin from his ankles, having his head smashed into the concret while blindfolded, being struck while under the influence of sedatives which were forcibly injected into him, being brutalised with the aid of an attack dog, and being sent to solitary confinement for 8 consecutive months.

Unfortunately for Hicks, the Australian government is doing nothing for him. Gutless Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today cast doubt on the validity of Hicks’ claims and said it was at odds with earlier statements by Hicks’ lawyers that he was humanely treated.

Mr Ruddock said Hicks’ abuse allegations were documented at the Australian government’s request but the allegations would be investigated by US authorities with no separate probe by Australia.