26 Oct 2010

Howard confronted by Hicks during TV programme

3:13 pm on 26 October 2010

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has confronted former Australian prime minister John Howard on a television programme.

Mr Hicks spent more than five years at Guantanamo without trial before admitting to supporting Al-Qaeda, in return for being allowed to serve his nine-month sentence in Australia.

He was able to address Mr Howard last night through a video link to the ABC's Q&A programme.

Mr Hicks asked the former prime minister to explain the coalition government's conduct while he was in the detention centre.

However, the ABC reports Mr Howard held firm on his actions regarding Mr Hicks.

"In relation to the military commissions, we put a lot of pressure on the Americans to accelerate the charges being brought against David Hicks, and I remind the people watching this programme that David Hicks did plead guilty to a series of offences," he said.

"David Hicks trained with Taliban, David Hicks was associated with groups that were behaving in a manner that was completely opposed to the interests of this country, and the idea that we should see him as a hero is very misplaced."

The ABC also reports that shoes were thrown at Mr Howard while he was defending his decision to send Australian troops to Iraq.

The shoes missed Mr Howard and the man who threw them was removed from the studio. The former prime minister appeared unruffled by the incident.