“Australian Consular assistance did not protect me from treatment that amounted to torture. Instead, they allowed it to happen..”
After it was announced that Julian Assange lost his final appeal to prevent his extradition to Sweden, people from all over the world came out to express their concern that Mr Assange is one step closer to extradition to the United States.
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, David Hicks, wanted to add his voice to the countless others who have come out in support for the work that Wikileaks does, and express his concern for Julian’s well-being if he is extradited to the U.S.. You can see a video of the full speech by clicking here.
Here is the full transcript of David Hicks’ speech.
A journalist detained and tortured- a practice not uncommon in news headlines: a claim usually made against dictatorships. Unfortunately, however, I am talking about a very possible near future scenario involving the government’s of Australia and the U.S., and as we know this will not be the first time they will have been connected to torture- Government’s who promote themselves as nations, that as a matter of principle and law, enjoy freedom of expression, speech and the press.
Julian Assange is a journalist- a brave and selfless journalist, who is not afraid to publish information for our benefit. Although, there should be nothing to be afraid of. Julian has done nothing more than act in the spirit of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, truth and transparency in his professional capacity as a journalist: Exactly what ‘s expected from our journalist. And yet has become a political prisoner.
Our media is of poor quality already, and what is being done to Julian, with the acknowledgment of our government, will only ensure this continues by the message it sends to all other journalists. Publish what we don’t want you to, and we will destroy your life.
Julian will be extradited to the U.S., it is not a matter of if, but when. The Australian government has proven by past and current examples, that what they have to say on the matter is meaningless- they lack credibility. I have firsthand experience of what it is like to be an Australian citizen and a political prisoner of the U.S.. Australian Consular assistance did not protect me from treatment that amounted to torture. Instead, they allowed it to happen, and they seem to be giving all indications that history is about to repeat itself. Such involvement in itself amounts to complicity.
The Australian government once again, sacrificing and devaluating Australian citizenship, only to appease a foreign power. Julian Assange is party of a long line of Australian citizens neglected, if not harmed, by their own government whilst abroad. Embarrassing at the least for Australia, and at times illegal at its worst. It appears Australian citizenship is worthless in the view of the Australian government, Liberal and Labor. Up till now the Australian government has been able to intervene on his behalf, and yet they haven’t. And they are able to intervene in the future, but based on past experience, they wont. Among other things for example, they should be securing assurances that Julian won’t be mistreated while in US custody.
We need to demand of our leaders freedom of speech, including freedom of press, where incentives and awards are given to those such as Julian , not punishment. We want a dynamic and independent media who can operate without fear of reprisals, something we currently lack. We want freedom from politically motivated detentions, freedom from physical and psychological torture. Our leaders need to take more pride in being Australian to safe-guard its citizens abroad, and give peace of mind to those who carry Australian passports overseas, and to have the courage to say ‘no’ to foreign countries who treat us as second class citizens and wish us harm. Julian must be brought home before it’s too late. My experience is a good prediction as to what awaits Julian. I cannot understand why we, especially our government, have still not learnt from the past. I hope, truly hope, that Julian is prepared for conditions that will amount to torture, because that is what awaits him once he ends up in U.S. hands.
The Justice Campaign stands in solidarity with Wikileaks as we believe it is an extremely important organisation that provides transparency and accountability to governments all over the world. Transparency is essential for a functioning democracy- shining a light on human rights abuses and corruption is the first step towards accountability, and of critical importance if we are not to repeat the mistakes of the past.