You mean David Hicks didn’t train with al-Qaeda, enlist with the Taliban and shoot into Kashmir with Lashkar-e-Toiba, all of which he boasted of in aÂ diaryÂ and inÂ lettersÂ to his family?
So theÂ Sydney Moonbat HeraldÂ seems to suggest, andÂ sympathizesÂ just a little too much:
A FREE man seven years after his arrest in Afghanistan, David Hicks (aka Mohound Dawoud) has signalled his wish toÂ clear his nameÂ and remove his terrorism conviction from his record.
Hicks has even found God, the New Age way:Â
Mr Hicks had undertaken volunteer work at a nursery and environmental agencies…
Environmentalism – the last refuge of a scoundrel. Including fascists.
AFP waits as Hicks controls end
* Muslim ‘chaplain’Â Â James Yee declares: “Hicks not a threat”
Verity Edwards/The Australian
THE control order restricting David Hicks’s movements may have expired yesterday, but the terrorism supporter won’t be completely free until he complies with a long-standing request to be interviewed by the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Hicks, who spent 5 1/2 years in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has so far refused to speak to the AFP, despite agreeing to be interviewed as part of his plea bargain last year. His lawyer, David McLeod, said while his client – returning to Adelaide from Sydney for Christmas this week – would eventually comply with the agreement, he was not ready to speak to the AFP.
“His psychiatric advice is that his rehab will be set back perhaps irreparably if he was subjected to further questioning at the moment,” Mr McLeod said.
A failure to attend interviews requested by Australian or American law enforcement and intelligence agencies could see the US Government “capture and detain” Mr Hicks.
In spite of the agreement, Mr McLeod said the AFP did not have the power to compel Mr Hicks to answer questions.
He said the controversial US military commissions, where Mr Hicks agreed to plead guilty to supporting terrorism in return for being repatriated to Australia, would have to reconvene to consider any breach of agreement before revoking Mr Hicks’s suspended sentence.
Mr McLeod said the US military would be unlikely to seek his return.
The Adelaide-based lawyer said Mr Hicks deserved his freedom because he had been a model prisoner in Australia and at Guantanamo Bay, and he had complied with his control order.
“Whilst what he did and what he is alleged to have done overseas is subject to conjecture, what we know is that since his arrest in Afghanistan he has been a model citizen,” Mr McLeod said. “His track record since that time should give the public every reason to be confident that he will return to society as an ordinary person.”
The 12-month, Federal Magistrates Court-imposed control order prevented Mr Hicks from travelling interstate without permission and using the internet and mobile phones freely, forced him to report to police twice-weekly and imposed a nightly curfew.
Mr Hicks moved from his home town of Adelaide to Sydney several months ago, where his father, Terry, said he was accessing comprehensive rehabilitation services.
He has been working part-time at a nursery and is believed to have a new woman in his life.
Mr Hicks’s longest public statement since the March expiry of his plea bargain’s gag order was in an internet video pleading for the AFP not to apply for a renewed control order.
Terry Hicks said his son planned to focus on improving his mental and physical health before considering whether to tell his story. Mr Hicks said his son was likely to remain in Sydney, where he has been able to live a more private life.
Additional reporting: Pia Akerman
Hicks not a threat: chaplain
‘Not a threat’: David Hicks (AAP: Tom Miletic)
A former United States Army chaplain who regularly counselled convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay detention centre says he does not believe Mr Hicks poses a threat to the Australian community now that he is free.
Mr Hicks was released from Adelaide’s Yatala prison on Saturday after six years in custody, five of those spent at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
He admitted training with Al Qaeda in Aghanistan in 2001 and joining with pro-Taliban fighters after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Australian Federal Police successfully argued in court that Mr Hicks should be under a control order because he may be a danger to the public.
The order requires Mr Hicks to obey a curfew and report to police three times a week, but Muslim US Army chaplain James Yee says he does not believe Mr Hicks is dangerous.
“Any American soldier who has been through basic training has had 50 times more training than this guy,” he said.
Mr Yee left the US Army in controversial circumstances after being wrongly accused of spying.
Mr Hicks is in a secret location in Adelaide and has requested privacy while he readjusts to society.
Earlier, former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer said the United States handled Mr Hicks’ case badly, by taking too long to bring him to trial in a military commission.
He defended the former Howard Government’s handling of the case and says he has no regrets.
Mr Downer also said Mr Hicks should apologise for his actions.