Submitted by Bob Burton on
In a plea bargain, the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner convicted on terrorism charges by the U.S. government's military commission, David Hicks, agreed to a 12 month ban on speaking to the media. After five years at Guantanamo Bay, Hicks will serve a further nine months in a prison in his home state of South Australia. The gag condition -- which would be illegal for a U.S. citizen -- has sparked outrage, with critics claiming that it was intended to silence Hicks ahead of the Australian election, which must be held by early 2008. While denying the ban was imposed at the instigation of the Australian government, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock stated that the ban extends to Hicks' parents. "The agreement can't be avoided by telling [the story] to a family member and then they say it on his behalf," he said. Ruddock subsequently conceded the condition would probably be unenforceable.