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May 30th, 2019 by admin

Hicks trial 'legally baseless'

Hicks was charged today with "material support for terrorism" and referred to trial by a special military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said.

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Major Michael Mori, who is in Melbourne, today 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," Maj 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.

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

"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."

Adelaide-born Hicks, 31, is expected to make his first appearance before a military commission in the next month.

Hicks has spent more than five years at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was picked up in Afghanistan in late

2001.

"After five years in Guantanamo, David has no hope of facing a fair trial, which would have been provided to an American a long time ago," Major Mori said.

"Australians deserve the same protections as Americans, yet David has yet to receive them and the Australian government has yet to demand that he does."