Hicks is on brink of insanity: father

November 1, 2004 - 2:19PM

Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks is on the brink of insanity, suffering severe mood swings and not able to comprehend reality.

Hicks believes he will be left permanently scarred from his detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is accused of fighting with Taliban forces in Afghanistan against US and coalition forces.

In his cramped room in solitary confinement at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Echo, Hicks spends his time counting the hours until his next visit and chance for human contact.

"I spend an average 350 hours by myself between brief visits," Hicks wrote in a letter to his father, Terry.

"I can no longer picture what exists outside Camp Echo.

"My entire life has become this tiny room and everything else is no longer reality.

"I feel as though I'm teetering on the edge of losing my sanity after being in such a long ordeal."

Hicks wrote the letter in August but it was only received in Adelaide by Terry Hicks last month.

The 29-year-old says he has become highly confused and suffers extreme mood swings.

He says authorities conduct all interviews under interrogation conditions and he is forced to make important decisions relating to his trial while he is chained to the floor.

He says he is so bewildered and confused the decisions are often made with little thought.

Hicks says authorities could improve his position but "low morale and depression seems to be their preferred option".

Terry Hicks called for his son to be assessed by an Australian psychiatrist and said the letter showed that despite US and Australian government assurances that Hicks was being humanely treated, he was clearly not OK.

"David should have gone to Indonesia and sold drugs because he would have been better looked after," Mr Hicks said.

"He's counting the hours between visits - strewth, when you're doing that there are obviously so many things that aren't right.

"I don't think the state David's in is dangerous to anyone but it is dangerous to himself.

"When you don't know what's real or what's not, when you get to that stage, it's suspended animation."

Hicks' supporters will hold a mock trial outside Adelaide's Parliament House to highlight his situation.

Defence lawyers in Cuba, meanwhile, will attempt to dismiss charges against Hicks in a series of motions hearings.

Hicks has been charged with attempted murder, aiding the enemy and conspiracy to attack civilians, commit terrorism and destroy property.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will face trial on January 11.

Defence lawyers say Hicks has been denied the right to a speedy trial, unfettered access to lawyers and the right to fair proceedings.

They have also challenged a rule prohibiting him from being present for classified parts of his trial, saying he can't properly defend himself unless he knows the allegations.

But prosecutors contend Hicks is an enemy combatant and is not entitled to the same rights as prisoners of war.

2004 AAP