Presentation Sisters to lead a prayer vigil for David Hicks
By JANE GARDNER
TONIGHT, a modest group will pray for the future of a man in a Guantanamo Bay prison cell 12,000 kilometres across the sea.
Detained terrorist suspect David Hicks won't know it, but tonight his future will be the focus of a prayer vigil in Ballina led by Sister Anne Shay of the Lismore Presentation Sisters.
"We are very worried the military commission hearings won't provide justice for David Hicks," Sister Anne said.
"Last week I read a news article saying almost every lawyer in the country thinks he will not get a fair trial. He needs to be brought home to Australia and given a fair trail here.
"His first lawyer Robert Preston said the military commission was morally, ethically and professionally intolerable. It would be awful to stand back and let this trial happen."
When asked if it seemed a strangely political cause for a religious group, Sister Anne said Jesus would disagree.
"If praying for justice sounds political, then so be it. Jesus told us to work for justice and blessed are they who suffer for the cause of justice," she said.
This will be the fifth vigil held by the Presentation Sisters, but the first to focus on justice for a person rather than peace in general.
A similar prayer vigil for justice for David Hicks was recently held in Melbourne by the Anglican Church.
About 50 people are expected to join the prayer session in Ballina tonight and anyone is welcome.
It will begin with readings from the Uniting, Anglican and Catholic churches and move onto prayers and hymns.
A petition will then be signed and sent to Parliament.
The vigil will be held at Anawin House, on the corner of Cherry and Swift streets from 7.15pm.
David Hicks has been held prisoner as an 'unlawful combatant' by the United States government for more than five years without trial.
On March 1, Hicks was formally charged with material support for terrorism, and referred to trial by the special military commission.
Soon after, the Australian government indicated any further delays to the legal process may result in it demanding the immediate his return.
For more information on the prayer vigil, call Helen Lockton on 6681 6357 or Sister Anne Shay on 0438 364 250.