find the latest legal job
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Great Career Opportunity ·
View details
Insurance and Health Lawyer (1-4 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· New position to support Growth ·
View details
David Hicks heckles Attorney-General George Brandis

David Hicks heckles Attorney-General George Brandis

The Commonwealth Attorney-General just got heckled at a human rights awards ceremony by someone regarded by many as a victim of severe human rights abuse.

You heard that right. Attorney-General George Brandis was publicly brought to task over his government’s less-than-perfect human rights record by the man the government left to rot in Guantanamo Bay 13 years ago.

“Hey, my name is David Hicks,” he shouted to Brandis. “I was tortured for five and a half years in Guantanamo Bay in the full knowledge of your party. What do you have to say?”

Hicks (pictured) could not have picked a better moment to confront the Attorney-General over government indifference to the years he spent being tortured in Cuba.

Brandis had just concluded an apologetic address in which he promised to release the 702 children locked up in detention centres on Christmas Island.

Hicks’ outburst also occurred on the same day that the US Senate published a damning report on the use of torture by secret service agencies.

The report contradicted the CIA’s claim that information gained through torture had prevented terrorist attacks. It also stated that the coercive techniques were “far more brutal than approved”.

Brandis ignored the heckle and hurried off stage, at which point Hicks told reporters he thought Brandis was a “coward” for running away.

Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent six years in a US maximum security prison where he says he was beaten and tortured.

Although the Coalition government admitted at the time that Hicks had not broken Australian law, the Howard government’s chummy relationship with the US clearly took precedence over its advocacy for ‘rogue’ Australian citizens. 

Hicks pled guilty as part of a plea bargain in 2007 and was extradited to Australia, where he served a further nine months.

Hicks’ lawyers claim he had no knowledge that the Taliban camp he was training at in Afghanistan was affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Hick’s lawyer Stephen Kenny said the heckle was entirely spontaneous: "I think David was surprised to find Minister Brandis there, talking about human rights, when he was a member of the Howard government who had so completely ignored David's human rights."

The awards ceremony was held on 10 December at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art to mark International Human Rights Day.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

David Hicks heckles Attorney-General George Brandis
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
Julian Assange
Oct 13 2017
When justice fails, according to Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has dismissed the capacity of judicial systems to deal with complex...
Aussie anti-terrorism laws, detention of 10-year-olds
Oct 13 2017
Treatment of kids under Aussie anti-terrorism laws an over-reach: ABA
The Australian Bar Association has urged the government to reconsider proposed reforms to Australian...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...