"Determined to shed light": Aloysia Brooks, a human rights advocate and wife of David Hicks. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Secret documents held by the FBI and other US government agencies about the treatment of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks may soon be made public after his wife launched a freedom of information lawsuit in the United States.
Aloysia Brooks, a human rights advocate, is using the legal tactic to try and force the US to hand over documents about her husband she requested almost two years ago.
Ms Brooks instructed US lawyer Jeffrey Light to file the lawsuit on Friday, a move that places the burden on the US government to explain to the public why it has been withholding information.
David Hicks: Spent five years at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Ms Brooks took the action after government departments in the US and Australia refused to release documents about Mr Hicks' "detention and torture".
“I am concerned about the continuing level of government secrecy surrounding issues relating to torture and political interference in War on Terror cases," Ms Brooks said.
"It doesn't matter how long this process takes," she said. "I am determined to shed a light on it."
Ms Brooks has been trying to get records of conversations between United States representatives and Australian government officials, particularly then prime minister John Howard, then US president George Bush and then US vice-president Dick Cheney.
Ms Brooks said she has had limited success in accessing the documents and those that were released by Australian government departments had been heavily redacted.
Mr Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 and turned over to the US before being taken to Guantanamo Bay in the first batch of prisoners to be incarcerated there. He was held for more than five years before being pressured into a plea bargain in which he was convicted of providing material support for terrorism.
Lawyers for Mr Hicks have launched an appeal in the US Court of Military Commission Review to overturn his conviction on the basis that it was an "invented" crime.
They are arguing for a summary dismissal of the conviction because the offence was not a war crime at the time Mr Hicks was detained and his guilty plea was made under duress because of his detention, torture and abuse at Guantanamo.