The human rights community rightly condemned the slowness of the process that Hicks underwent after he was captured with Taliban forces and placed under United States military arrest at Guantanamo Bay in 2001. Six years of delayed justice was, even in the extraordinary circumstances of the world post 9/11, truly a case of justice denied in Hicks' case.
However, there was no reason for Hicks to become a cause célèbre as a result of what he went through during those six years including his subsequent brief imprisonment for the offence to which he confessed. We know from his own writings that he was a member of the Taliban, supported the decapitation of those who disagree with Mohammed, was involved in the firing at targets inside Kashmir from Pakistan and is a serial anti-Semite.
Supporters of Hicks claim that he accepted a plea bargain last year because it was a better and more convenient alternative to a long term battle with the American military system. On the other hand there is evidence that the process was also delayed by Hicks' own legal team, that a plea bargain could have been arranged as early as in 2003 and that his advisers and the legal teams of other Guantanamo Bay detainees were also responsible for dragging out the process with the aim of putting political pressure on George W. Bush and John Howard. Still, the trial was ultimately compared by Melbourne human rights activist Robert Richter QC to "German show trials of the 1930's" (an unfortunate reference because the Nazis would no doubt have been ecstatic about Hicks’ advocating the overthrow of "Western Jewish domination").
When he walked free from prison this week, Hicks made no substantial apology for anything and certainly stated no remorse for his support of terrorism and his rabid anti-Semitism.
Many were ready to despair at the silence of the human rights camp on these matters; especially those who said enough is enough, he has experienced too much grief already, that he is "misguided" and that we should now leave him alone. Shamefully, they all seemed prepared to forget what Hicks stood for when he made the decision to bear arms for the Taliban. We wondered where were the human rights and civil liberties of those who suffered at their hands, of Daniel Pearl and his family and of the Jews and others who have been murdered and persecuted by those with Hicks' world view?
Thankfully, George Newhouse - a genuine human rights activist - has come to the fore to provide some clarity by maintaining that Hicks won't be taken seriously until he renounces terrorism and anti-Semitism - HICKS MUST RENOUNCE TERRORISM - LAWYER.
Newhouse says Hicks needs to reassure Australians that he has changed his views on these subjects.
"Hicks' views are an insult to all Australians and he must renounce them immediately," Mr. Newhouse said.
"David Hicks claims that his plea bargain (with US military prosecutors) and the conditions of his release from Guantanamo Bay restricts him from talking about a lot of issues, but surely they do not stop him from coming forward to renounce terrorism and anti-Semitism.
"Until he does that, his words cannot be taken seriously.
"David Hicks should appreciate the fact that he has been repatriated to his homeland where he can benefit from a robust democracy, the rule of law and an independent judiciary," he said.
"David Hicks needs to reciprocate by reaffirming the basic values of our nation and the right to all Australians, including Jews, to live here and abroad in peace and safety."