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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Emotional reunion for Hicks family
Archive photo of Terry Hicks
Terry Hicks said there were a lot of tears to start with
The father of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has spoken of an emotional reunion after their first meeting in three years.

Terry Hicks and his daughter Stephanie spent three hours with David on the day he pleaded guilty to terror links at a military hearing at the camp in Cuba.

Mr Hicks said his son looked "puffy" and had "certainly changed in the three years since I've seen him".

He said his son's greatest desire was to return home and see his children.

"He just wants to try and get back to Australia, see his kids and have a normal life," Mr Hicks was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying.

'Hugged, cried'

The three family members were allowed to meet privately at a secure unit on the US military base.

They initially met for two hours, but were given an extra hour together when David Hicks' hearing was delayed.

Sketch of David Hicks (left) in court on 26 March 2007
David Hicks is expected to serve any sentence in Australia

He was shackled and wore prison fatigues as they ate a military-supplied lunch comprising a sandwich, two juice drinks, two biscuits, an apple and an orange.

During his years in prison, David Hicks has grown his hair to chest length - to pull over his eyes at night to keep out the light and allow him to sleep, his lawyer says.

His long beard had reportedly been shaved off for the hearing.

Mr Hicks senior said his son had put on a great deal of weight and looked "puffy" in the three years since he had seen him. He looked "bloody terrible", Mr Hicks told reporters.

He admitted it was hard at the start because of all the emotions. "Once we got going it was ok."

When asked if there were tears, he replied: "Too right, yeah. It's good to be emotional. We shook hands, hugged, cried."

Mr Hicks said they explained to David how his ongoing incarceration had become a political issue in Australia, and dismissed suggestions his son would be a danger to the public if he was returned.

"He knows that John Howard and the government are frightened that when he gets back that he'll do something," Mr Hicks said.

"What the hell? He did nothing in Afghanistan."

Mr Hicks and Stephanie flew out of Guantanamo Bay in the evening, missing David Hick's guilty plea to a charge of providing material support for terrorism.

While the length of his sentence is still being discussed, both the US and Australia have agreed that it should be served back in his home country.

Guilty plea from detainee Hicks
27 Mar 07 |  Americas
David Hicks: 'Australian Taleban'
26 Mar 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Guantanamo father earns praise
16 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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