As all sensible and rational people know, David Hicks, is at worst, a foolish young man, who simply wants now to put his past behind him and get on with being a productive citizen in our community. Mr Hicks is also the victim of an appallingly unfair legal process, which would not pass muster in this country, or even in any US state. It was a legal process so egregious that it breached the US Constitution and the baseline standards that apply to countries which purport to uphold the rule of law.
But didn’t Mr Hicks confess to associating with a terrorist organisation? Frankly, it’s hard to know. Sure he signed a plea agreement which has enabled him to leave the hell-hole of Guantanamo Bay after five years detention. But who wouldn’t sign any piece of paper, admitting to all manner of crimes, if it meant an end of mental and physical hardship of a type that is not tolerated even in the worst of our prisons in this country?
Make no mistake, David Hicks has more than paid a fair price for his dalliance with the wrong side in the war on terror. The toll that Guantanamo Bay and the tortuous legal processes will have taken on him physically and mentally are probably equivalent in magnitude to those that are experienced by prisoners in our system who are locked up for sentences of a decade or more.
All this seems to be lost on opportunist politicians like the Acting South Australian Premier Kevin Foley. As soon as Mr Hicks’ landed back in his home town of Adelaide, Mr Foley the ALP’s local bovver boy, put on his steel capped boots and proceeded to kick and kick.
Mr Foley apparently thinks Mr Hicks is a dangerous offender. He puts Mr Hicks in the same category as psychopathic killers, recidivist pedophiles and serial rapists. “We will treat him as a high security, maximum security prisoner,” Mr Foley boasted to the media yesterday. And on what basis? None, other than Mr Foley, like the vast majority of his Labor colleagues quivers at the prospect of being seen as compassionate to Mr Hicks, because the Liberals will scream hysterically that Labor is soft on terrorism if he does.
But wait, bovver boy Foley had more bile to spit out at Mr Hicks. “He should be seen for what he is – someone who chose to openly assist Al Qaeda and terrorists to do damage to people in the western world. He deserves no sympathy,” thundered Mr Foley.
What, no sympathy whatsoever? Even though this young man has not been given a fair trial, kept locked in grossly inhumane conditions and is now being held, without any shred of evidence that it is necessary, in maximum security at an Adelaide prison.
And then this absurd moralising from Mr Foley. “I just hope that while he is in prison he reflects on his behaviour and the pain he has caused his family and his treacherous behaviour towards Australian citizens.” Oh give it a rest Kevin. You don’t think David Hicks has already had over five years to do exactly that!
David Hicks is not the hot shot international crime figure, as Mr Foley and the media circus over the weekend portrays him to be. In fact, he’s not even a low level recidivist.