28 Mar. 2007

Cold Comfort For Change

I was right again:
DAVID HICKS will be behind bars in Australia until after this year's election, but his stint in an Adelaide prison will be relatively short, under a plea bargain being hammered out between prosecutors and his defence counsel.

Government sources confirmed yesterday that Hicks's prospective sentence would take into account his five years and two months in Guantanamo Bay but would also include a short period to be served in Australia. That period is "not close" to the five years being mooted in some reports, one government official said. The Herald understands that additional time to be served in Australia is about a year.

The outcome, still to be approved by a panel of US military commission officials and its Convening Authority, is a bonus for the Federal Government, as Hicks will be unable to conduct potentially embarrassing interviews before this year's election.