Hicks lawyer says new US trial would constitute double jeopardy

[JURIST] A US military lawyer for David Hicks [JURIST news archive] said the US government cannot legally prosecute the Australian-born Guantanamo detainee again because a trial would constitute double jeopardy under the Fifth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution. The lawyer, Maj. Michael Mori, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that a trial for Hicks had begun in 2004, when a jury was empaneled for a military commission [JURIST news archive] that was later aborted. The US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] last week in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [opinion text] that the commissions as constituted are illegal under military law and the Geneva Conventions. Hicks has been held at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since late 2001, when he was captured in Afghanistan – where he allegedly fought for the Taliban – and turned over to US forces. Accused [charges, PDF] of conspiracy to commit war crimes and attempted murder, Hicks is one of ten Guantanamo detainees facing trial by a military commission.

President Bush has pledged to work with Congress [JURIST report] to "determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give [Guantanamo detainees] their day in court." In a radio interview last week, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said [JURIST report] that Hicks should still be tried in American courts and that he cannot be tried in Australia because supporting al Qaeda was not illegal under Australian law in 2001. The Sydney Morning Herald has more.

 

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