From the Center for Constitutional Rights, March 30:
Hicks Forced to Agree to Gag Order With Plea
Guantanamo Detainee May Not Speak to Press, Criticize his Detention or Say He was Tortured
The US government required Guantánamo detainee David Hicks to agree to a series of conditions in exchange for accepting his plea before the military commission and releasing him to Australia to serve a sentence of seven years for “material support of a terrorist organization.” Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represented Hicks in the original Supreme Court case that established the right of the detainees to challenge their detention in US courts, criticized the deal.
Hicks, who has been held mostly without charge for five years at the base and complained of mistreatment in the past, has had to agree to a gag order on speaking to the media for one year after his release and to stating that he has never been mistreated while at Guantánamo and that his detention was lawful pursuant to law of armed conflict. He was forced to give up the right to sue over his treatment in the future and made to promise to cooperate with investigators should the need arise. In addition, he is forbidden from profiting from his story by, for instance, publishing a book or selling movie rights and must turn over any profits to the Australian government.
“David Hicks would agree to anything to get out of Guantánamo after being trapped there for more than five years. The government is attempting to silence criticism and keep the facts of their torture and abuse of detainees from the public,” said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. Pointing to the fact that Hicks already outlined his torture and abuse in an affidavit he dictated to his military attorney in 2004, Warren added, “You can’t put torture back in a bottle.”
Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative said, “Even pleading guilty wasn’t enough to free David from a ridiculously unfair system designed from the start to hide the truth. The gag orders are un-American, and, we hope, un-Australian as well.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents many of the detainees at Guantánamo and coordinates the work of nearly 500 pro bono attorneys.
See our last posts on Gitmo and the David Hicks case.