Saturday, December 29, 2007

David Hicks Statement

"Thank you for coming out on a Saturday and during the holiday period.

"I know you all hoped I might appear and answer some questions.

"I had hoped to be able to speak to the media but I am just not strong enough at the moment - it's as simple as that.

"I am sorry for that.

"As part of my conditions of release from Guantanamo Bay, I agreed not to speak to the media on a range of issues before March 30, 2008.

"It's my intention to honour this agreement as I don't want to do anything that might result in my return there.

"So for now, I will limit what I have to say - I will say more at a later time.

"I would ask the media and the public understand and respect this.

"I do however want to take this opportunity to say some overdue thankyou's.

"First and foremost, I would like to recognise the huge debt of gratitude that I owe the Australian public for getting me home. I will not forget, or let you down.

"Next, I would like to thank my family and friends who have been so supportive of me. Words cannot adequately express the level of my feelings for them. I love them very much.

"Also my team of lawyers: Major Dan Mori, Josh Dratel, Michael Griffin, Steve Kenny and David McLeod, as well as their legal teams in Adelaide, Sydney, Washington and London. Much of their work was carried out pro-bono and they know I owe my freedom to their efforts.

"I also thank the legal profession within Australia, including the Law Council of Australia and the state Law Societies, and those abroad, who strove to uphold the ideal of a free trial for an Australian citizen.

"Many thanks go to the Fair Go For David campaigners and organisations such as Amnesty International, GetUp, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dick Smith, church groups including the Catholic Church, and various anti-torture and human rights groups.

"The Red Cross played an important role by trying to improve conditions and the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their efforts.

"There are certain politicians I would also like to particularly mention and thank: Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Danna Vale, Sandra Kanck, Senator Bob Brown, Senator Kerry Nettle, Mark Parnell, Senator Linda Kirk, Nicola Roxon, Bob Debus, Rob Hull, Frances Bedford, Kris Hanna and many others who preferred to work behind the scenes.

"A huge thank you also to the members of the media who wrote about and increased public awareness of my detention and treatment over the years. Without you, the court of public opinion would not have been as informed or influential.

"There are many other groups, both large and small, and individuals involved in the campaign for my return to Australia, and to them I offer them my heartfelt thanks.

"This list is in no particular order and to anyone that I haven't mentioned, I am very sorry. I hope to thank all of you personally at a later date.

"Right now I am looking forward to some quiet time with my wonderful Dad, my family and friends.

"I ask that you respect my privacy as I will need time to readjust to society and to obtain medical care for the consequences of five and a half years at Guantanamo Bay.

"I have been told that my readjustment will be a slow process and should involve a gentle transition away from the media spotlight.

"Thankyou for respecting my privacy and allowing me some breathing space to get on with my life."