1 Mar. 2007

The Case Against Hicks: Zilch

Hicks' lawyer seeks meeting with Ruddock:
Major Michael Mori, who is in Melbourne, said the dismissal of the attempted murder charge was an admission by the US commission system that all the charges laid against Hicks were made up and had no basis in law and fact.

"It's disgusting that he has spent five years in Guantanamo for made-up charges," Major Mori told reporters in Melbourne.

"Now they are doing it again. They are repeating history by creating a new crime after the fact and trying to apply it to David retroactively.

"This is something that the attorney general in Australia has said is completely inappropriate.

"I want to speak to the Attorney General's Department to make sure they understand the nature of the charge, the illegality of this new charge.

"It's about time they took some action and just didn't rely on US assurances in the matter."

"We cannot have another reinforcing of failure which the first commission system was, and putting David through another unfair system on made-up charges."

Maj Mori said the serious charges the American military originally accused Hicks of two years ago no longer stand.

"The charges David faced for more than two and one-half years are now completely gone," Maj Mori told AAP.

"None of the original charges - conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent - have been recharged.

"This is an admission by the US that there was no basis for the original charges and that the US had no justification to hold David for five years on those made-up offences.

"David has been charged with only one offence - material support of terrorism.

"The material support charge has never existed in the laws of war.

"It was created in October 2006.

"The US is applying this offence to David retrospectively even though Australian (government) ministers have said that is inappropriate.

"Prosecutors claim the offence of material support has been on the books for years, but they are talking about a US domestic offence, of which David is not charged.

"If you put the military commission offence and the federal offence of material support of terrorism side by side, they are not the same offence.

"If the (Australian) government's position is that the commission and US federal offences of material support are the same, and therefore not retrospective, then prosecutors could have charged David five years ago in US federal court rather than let him rot in Guantanamo.

"All this time, we have been told that David had to be tried by military commission rather than in a federal court because the offences were war crimes.

"But after five years, the US has not charged David with a single war crime." ...

The latest charge went against basic values and was not to be taken seriously, Maj Mori said.

"How can it be a serious charge if it was made up in 2006 and you're applying it to someone in 2000, 2001. It's called a retrospective legislation," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"It's a position that the Australian government has stood strong on, that is wrong and inappropriate and it cannot be tolerated.

"You don't even need legal training to see that it's not the same charge and a US crime.

"If I'm wrong and it is a US crime, then why has David Hicks spent five years in Guantanamo, why haven't they taken him to a US federal court.

"If it is a US crime, then they can take him to a federal court tomorrow and he can be treated just like an American, and the Australian government should accept nothing less than equal treatment for an Australian citizen.

"I think everybody else in the world realises it was made up and (it was) a BS charge.

"It was ridiculous. No one thought that you could charge someone with attempted murder when the prosecution admitted that they never shot anybody.

"Yet, they let that go on for two and a half years. It's embarrassing that this has gone on this long."