The United Nations Human Rights Commission has claimed that former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks’ rights have been violated by Australia as the country kept him jailed for several months for a transfer deal with the United States.
UNHRC Chairman Fabian Salvioli released a statement in which he said that Hicks was sentenced for a “flagrant denial of justice.” The committee of 18 independent experts has worked on the matter after a complaint was filed by the victim relating to his inappropriate treatment by the nation. The finding of the committee, with two members against the verdict, was adopted in November and was published on Tuesday.
According to the new facet of the matter that has come into focus, the commission was established that Australia violated Hicks’ rights, but at the same time the nation’s government was not liable to make reparation payments for the loss. “Transfer agreements are important because they allow prisoners convicted abroad to serve their sentences in their own country,” The Guardian quoted Salvioli as saying. “But states should not carry out a sentence if there is ample evidence that the trial clearly violated the defendant’s rights, as was the case with Mr. Hicks.”
Hicks’ lawyer, Stephen Kenny, was satisfied by the UN verdict and said it highlighted the inappropriate action undertaken by the Australian government. “His treatment was appalling and the Australian government’s role in his imprisonment is a serious abuse of an Australian citizen,” the lawyer said on Wednesday as quoted by The Australian.
Hicks was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and was sent to the US naval base Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in January 2002. He was found guilty and was charged for “providing material support for terrorism” under the US Military Commission Act 2006. He was sentenced for seven years in jail. However, most of his jail term was suspended. He was transferred to Australia in May 2007 where he served his seven months in prison.