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Friday, 08 December 2006

After five years it's time to bring Hick's home

The Uniting Church has urged the Federal Government to secure the immediate release of David Hicks on the eve of tomorrow’s nation-wide protests marking the fifth anniversary of his incarceration.

Uniting Church President, the Rev. Gregor Henderson, said David Hicks should be returned to Australia immediately and that any charges against him should be dealt with under Australian or International law.

“We strongly support the current efforts for David Hicks to be released from Guantanamo Bay and returned to his family and community here in Australia.

“The Uniting Church in Australia deplores the ongoing incarceration of David Hicks at Guantanamo and the continued acquiescence of the Australian Government in his ongoing detention,” Rev Henderson said.

At its 10th National Assembly held in Melbourne in 2003 the church passed a resolution calling for David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib to be returned to Australia and dealt with under Australian or International Law.

“At that time the Uniting Church National Assembly affirmed that God’s love for every human being leads Christians to support those whose human rights are disregarded, including those who are imprisoned unjustly, and that it is a fundamental responsibility of a democratic government to seek to safeguard the human rights of all its citizens, including the unpopular and the alleged wrongdoer.”

After adopting a major new statement on human rights this year at its 11th Assembly, the Uniting Church again called on the Australian Government to act urgently to ensure David Hicks is repatriated to Australia and for the Government to withdraw its support for the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.

A letter to this effect has been sent to the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition.

Media Contact: Gavin Melvin, Manager, National Media and Communication – 0417 416 674