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One man’s ordeal, a nation’s shame

One man’s ordeal, a nation’s shame

Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib has written a book entitled My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t (Scribe Publications $32.95).

The book, reviewed in the Weekend Australian 25/26 Oct 08 by Natalie O`Brien, tells of Habib`s ordeal. After being questioned by ASIO and the Australian Federal Police in Pakistan, he was kidnapped by the CIA and secretly sent to Egypt for interrogation where he was held and tortured for six months.

He was then handed back to the Americans and taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was confined for 3 1/2 years, along with many others who had stories to tell of being kidnapped, tortured and sold to the Americans.

Now back in Australia, Habib is suing the federal government for compensation. In 2007 the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal refused to order Habib`s Australian passport to be returned while adding almost as an aside: “That an Australian citizen could be detained by a foreign entity and subjected to such treatment is antithetical to Australian values, regardless of the security risk that citizen might pose”.

At the time, these sentiments were of little concern to the Howard Government which deliberately concealed from the Australian public such human rights violations, as they conducted the ‘war’ on drugs and terrorism while a mindset of “the end justifies any means” silenced voices in opposition.

Mamdouh Habib`s ordeal must no go unnoticed. There are lessons for all of us to learn from the injustices he experienced at the hands of those proclaiming to be upholders of democracy.

Keith McEwan, CLA member, Bendigo, Vic

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