Hicks: Assange will never receive free trial in US

From a man who knows a few things about Australia abandoning its own citizens:

Former…  Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will never receive a fair trial if he is handed over to US authorities.

Mr Hicks says he hopes the Australian government won’t abandon Mr Assange, as they did with him.

He also says it’s clear Mr Assange is the victim of a politically motivated campaign.

The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief is facing allegations of sexual assault and rape made against him in Sweden.

He has been granted conditional bail by a British court but remains in prison while Swedish authorities appeal the decision.

Mr Assange’s British lawyer Mark Stephens has claimed a secret US grand jury has been set up in Virginia to work on charges that could be filed against the Australian.

He fears Sweden might hand Mr Assange over the US, which has been embarrassed by WikiLeaks’ publication of US diplomatic cables.

Mr Hicks, who claims he was tortured at the US-run prison camp in Cuba, has told Fairfax Radio he’s worried about what might happen to the WikiLeaks boss if he’s sent to the US.

“He will never receive a fair trial,” he said.

“We have already established that it’s a political decision rather than a legal one. It’s important that our governments are held to account for any war crimes they may be involved in and that is why the work of WikiLeaks is so important.”

Mr Hicks said he was hopeful some of the documents being leaked might expose the political interference that tainted his case.

“I will watch with interest in more leaks released because I have heard that they might contain information about my treatment in Guantanamo and the political interference in my case,” he said.

“I just hope the Australian government doesn’t abandon him like they did to me.”

Mr Hicks, who pleaded guilty to a charge of supporting terrorism, was held at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years after being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.

In March 2007, under a plea bargain, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail but ordered to serve only nine months with the rest of his sentence suspended.

He returned to Australia and was released from Adelaide’s Yatala Jail in December, 2007.

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