[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] on Wednesday asserted that his government will not issue a pardon to Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] if he is convicted by a US military commission. Howard, appearing on ABC's Lateline program, addressed [press release] remarks by opposition Labour Party leader Kevin Rudd [official profile], who claims that Hicks would not be presumed innocent by a military commission and that hearsay evidence was subject to no restrictions. Howard refutes Rudd, contending that Section 949(l)(c)(1) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text] expressly provides for the presumption of innocence and contains significant safeguards against the misuse of hearsay evidence. Howard also suggested that any time Hicks has spent in detention at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] will be cut from his prison sentence in Australia.
On Monday, Howard called for a speedy trial [JURIST report] and Hicks' prompt return to Australia. Hicks faces charges [JURIST report] of providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, though the charges have not yet received formal approval. Australia's ABC News has more.