Is That All They've Got?
New charges against David Hicks, an Australian held hostage in Guantanamo Bay for more than five years, have been announced. He is set to be charged with attempted murder, and supplying material support for terrorism.
If convicted Hicks could face life in an American prison.
But is that it?
Is that really all they've got on him, if the charges even stand up to the scrutiny of a trial?
After all these years, that's it?
The attempted murder charge is serious enough, but it's going to be all but impossible to prove, even in the highly questionable processes of a military tribunal.
Material support for terrorism is a meaningless charge, with no precedent under the rules of war, if that's how the US military actually intends to actually pursue such a charge against Hicks.
But these charges have only been announced. They are only in draft form for now.
Hicks still hasn't actually been formally charged with anything.
That process alone could take weeks longer. The charges have to be thoroughly reviewed before Hicks is formally charged with attempted murder and 'aiding' terrorism.
And before Hicks is formally charged, the accusations could be tossed out during the review process.
Hicks may be home sooner than most may think.
From smh.com.au :
Colonel Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor for the upcoming military commissions, announced Hicks and two other Guantanamo Bay inmates would be the first three to be brought to trial.Hicks's American-appointed military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, questioned the validity of both proposed charges in light of comments made by Col Davis in a recent media interview with Australia's ABC.
"The old charge of attempted murder has reappeared even after the chief prosecutor has admitted to the ABC that there is no evidence that David shot at anyone in Afghanistan," Maj Mori said.
"The charge of material support is not part of the law of war and does not appear in any US or Australian military manual as a law of war offence.
"What is most disturbing is that while Australian ministers have consistently said that creating a new law and applying it retrospectively to David Hicks is inappropriate, the same ministers are encouraging the US administration to apply a new law created less than four months ago retrospectively to David Hicks.
"This is something the United States will not do to Americans."Col Davis' proposed charges will be handed to US military judge Susan Crawford who has been appointed the military commission's Convening Authority.
Judge Crawford may approve the charges, or she could reject them.
Charges approved by Judge Crawford would then be the charges Hicks faced at a military commission trial held at the US naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Hicks and other inmates are housed.
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