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Hicks 'has agoraphobia, panic attacks'

Sidney Morning Herald
December 24, 2007

Former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks has ventured outside only once during his seven months in an Adelaide prison, preferring the confines of his cell.

A report in The Sydney Morning Herald says Hicks suffers from agoraphobia - an anxiety disorder associated with being afraid to leave known, safe environments - and has suffered panic attacks.

"He tried to go out but he just said everything closed in on him," his father Terry Hicks told The Herald.

Hicks, 32, is due for release on Saturday but there are concerns he is psychologically unfit for the freedom he will face outside prison.

In a serious sign of the readjustment problems he faces, Hicks had a panic attack believing he was back in the hands of the US military when he was taken out of Yatala prison in early November as part of the lead-up to his release, his father said.

"They told him he had no choice, he had to go; and they put him in the van and took him away," Terry Hicks said.

"He just regressed back to Guantanamo Bay and he had such anxiety they had to bring him back."

Forensic psychologists say the fragile characteristics displayed by Hicks are typical of people who have spent prolonged periods in isolation.

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