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May 30th, 2019 by admin

Hicks detention is challenged

The federal opposition has questioned the legality of Australian David Hicks' five-year detention at Guantanamo Bay, saying the charge he faces did not apply to non-US citizens until last year.

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The United States charged the Australian today with providing material support for terrorism, making him the first detainee in the war on terror era to be charged under the new US law for military commissions.

Hicks will face court within a month, but a charge of attempted murder has been dropped.

Labor's attorney-general spokesman Kelvin Thomson said the charge against Hicks was not part of the laws of war until last year.

"It makes you wonder on what basis he has been held legally for the past five years," Mr Thomson told reporters in Melbourne.

"The military commission's act of 2006 applied this offence of material support for terrorism to non-US citizens and did so with retrospective effect.

"Now the Howard government has been claiming all along that it would require retrospective legislation in order to try David Hicks in Australia and this would be wrong.

"Why is it not okay to charge David Hicks with retrospective offences under Australian law yet apparently it is okay to charge David Hicks retrospectively at Guantanamo Bay?"

Mr Thomson said the government needed to end the double-standard and tell the US it was unacceptable to charge Hicks under retrospective law.

"He can have that fair trial in the US under American law, he can have that fair trial in Australia under Australian law but he will not receive a fair trial at Guantanamo Bay," he said.

"If Guantanamo Bay is not good enough for American citizens, it is not good enough for an Australian citizen either."