[JURIST] High-ranking officials in the Australian government pressured the US government to reduce terror charges against Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archives], according to a report in The Australian on Tuesday. Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official profile] and other officials personally asked the US Department of Defense and the Department of Justice [official websites] to expedite the charges, starting in January 2004. Australian efforts intensified after the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the military commission [JURIST news archive] that had charged Hicks was illegal and that the crime with which he was charged, conspiracy, did not exist in the laws of war.
US prosecutors dropped conspiracy charge on February 2 and recharged him with providing material support to terrorists [JURIST report]. Formal approval [JURIST report] was granted on March 1 for the final charge: one count of providing material support to terrorists. A trial date was set [JURIST report] three weeks later. The Australian has more.