Ex-Guantanamo detainee appeals conviction

[JURIST] Australian citizen David Hicks [JURIST news archive] filed a motion [text, PDF] to dismiss his conviction in the US Court of Military Commission Review [official website] on Wednesday after pleading guilty in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism. Hicks was captured in Afghanistan by northern alliance forces shortly after September 11, 2011, and then sold to the US military and brought to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] the day that it opened. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website] and co-counsel Joseph Margulies filed a motion asking the military commission to vacate Hicks's conviction after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled in 2012 in Hamdan v. United States [opinion, PDF] that material support for terrorism is not a war crime and, thus, is beyond the jurisdiction of military commissions. Hicks's original appeal in November was stayed pending the ruling in Al-Bahlul v. United States [opinion, PDF], which similarly held [JURIST report] last month that material support is not a war crime and cannot be tried by military commission. Hicks was the first person to be convicted in a military commission. After his release from Guantanamo, Hicks returned to Australia under a one-year gag order that prohibited him from speaking to the media. As part of his plea, he was also prevented from taking legal action against the US and required to withdraw allegations that the US military abused him.

Following his guilty plea, Hicks was transferred to Australia in May 2007 to serve the remainder of his prison sentence at a maximum security prison near his hometown of Adelaide, South Australia, and was released [JURIST reports] in December 2007, though he remains under a suspended sentence. A control order against him was relaxed in February 2008 and was ultimately removed [JURIST reports] in December 2008. Hicks has sold approximately 30,000 copies of his book, Guantanamo, My Journey [publisher materials], which chronicles his time at Guantanamo and in the Australian prison. In 2011 the New South Wales Supreme Court [official website] froze all assets [SMH report] arising out of the sale of the book, but those proceedings were later dropped. Also in 2011 Hicks filed an appeal [JURIST report] with the UN Human Rights Committee [official website] complaining of multiple violations of international law stemming from his five-year incarceration at Guantanamo.

 

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