News / Asia

    ‘Aussie Taliban’ Rejects Extremism In First TV Interview

    An undated image supplied Friday Oct. 15, 2010, by publisher Random House, showing former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Australian David Hicks, who was imprisoned for five and half years in the U.S. military detention camp.
    An undated image supplied Friday Oct. 15, 2010, by publisher Random House, showing former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Australian David Hicks, who was imprisoned for five and half years in the U.S. military detention camp.

    In his first interview on Australian television, former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has said he finds terrorism “disgusting” and never trained with extremists.

    The former kangaroo hunter, who was born in Adelaide, pleaded guilty before a U.S. military commission for providing material support for terrorism and was sent home in 2007.

    David Hicks has rarely spoken in public and remains a polarizing figure.  To some Australians he’s a traitor who admitted supporting extremism, while others say he is a victim of rough justice.

    Hicks was detained in Afghanistan after the attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.  His family has always insisted he was a naive young man who was simply seeking adventure far from home.   

    Hicks’ first Australian television interview is full of denials.

    He insisted that he never fought for the Taliban or met Osama Bin Laden despite previously admitting to meeting the al-Qaeda leader.  

    The former Guantanamo Bay detainee also accused his U.S. captors of forcing a confession through torture and beatings.  U.S. officials have insisted that Hick was treated in accordance with international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross assessed that interrogation practices at Guantanamo Bay were tantamount to torture.

    ‘Aussie Taliban’ Rejects Extremism In First TV Interview
    ‘Aussie Taliban’ Rejects Extremism In First TV Interview
    Hicks was held at Guantanamo Bay before being repatriated four years ago. This week he told Australia’s Channel Ten television network that he was forced to confess to crimes he did not commit.

    “I think terrorism is disgusting, so it disappoints me that I’d be referred to as a convicted supporter of terrorism," Hicks said. "I’ve never supported terrorism. I’ve never received terrorism training. First of all I didn’t fight for the Taliban. At any time I was involved in no conflict in Afghanistan. I never engaged in conflict against Australian or U.S. troops, or any coalition forces.  I never intended to.”    

    The Australian citizen was detained in late 2001 in Afghanistan, where he traveled after converting to Islam and is alleged to have helped the Taliban fight U.S.-led forces. Prosecutors at the time said Hicks received weapons and guerrilla warfare training at several al-Qaida terrorist camps there.

    Hicks is now seeking compensation and an apology from the Australian government for its part in his alleged mistreatment.

    He also has taken his case to the United Nations. In documents submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, the former Guantanamo Bay inmate claims he was beaten, sexually abused and drugged in U.S. custody. His submissions urge the Australian government to ask Washington to overturn his terrorism conviction.

    David Hicks recently published his memoirs, the proceeds of which have been frozen by an Australian court following legal action by federal authorities.  The case is continuing and prosecutors say that Hicks must not be allowed to profit from his crimes.

    Critics say Hicks’ autobiography is full of inconsistencies and fails to properly explain what the young Australian who had converted to Islam was doing in Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks.

    His controversial book has been short-listed for a prestigious prize, the Queensland state Premier's Literary Awards. Hicks says any prize money will be donated to victims of torture.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora