Now, on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, David Hicks, 32, is trying to put his life back together while waiting to be released from an Australian prison in December, according to his father, Terry Hicks.

“What we mainly talk about is the future and what is going to happen,” Terry Hicks says in a telephone interview from his home in Adelaide. He visits his son weekly at the Yatala Labor Prison.

David Hicks hasn’t practiced Islam — or any religion — for years. He is focused on getting a high school degree and is looking into going to college, Terry Hicks says.

Hicks was transferred to Australia in May under a controversial deal with the U.S. government. Under its terms, he admitted his guilt, agreed not to talk publicly for a year, disavowed allegations of mistreatment and gave up the right to sue U.S. authorities.

Terry Hicks, who had led a long campaign to get his son returned to Australia, says he has no doubt that David was beaten and forced to recant to win his freedom. “I think he got to the stage where he just wanted to get out,” Hicks says. “He’d had enough. When the door’s open, you walk through it. … They come up smelling of roses, and David comes up smelling a liar.”

Terry Hicks says the gag order on his son was designed to protect Howard from embarrassing revelations about David Hicks’ treatment at Guantanamo.

Terry Hicks says his son was a wreck when he got to Australia. David Hicks’ skin was puffy and yellowish, and he barely responded to family members — a big change from the kid who “could talk the handle off a pot,” his father says.

Hicks was so conditioned to prison life that he wouldn’t open doors or flick light switches; he waited for guards to do things for him. He is now in solitary confinement at Yatala. “He doesn’t mingle,” Terry Hicks says. “It’s probably in his best interest that he doesn’t.”

Read the full USA Today report here.

Peter Fray

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