Source : - ABC News Online
January 11, 2007
The Australian lawyer for Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has expressed outrage that the chief US military prosecutor at the detention facility has voiced his opinion on the case.
Colonel Moe Davis told the ABC's AM program that Mr Hicks is likely to be one of the first people charged when the new military commission structure is unveiled.
He says the prosecution will argue Mr Hicks was not simply looking for adventure when he went to Afghanistan in 2001.
"My understanding is that when 9/11 happened he was out of the country, but once he saw that the US had been attacked he made a conscious choice to go back to Afghanistan, report into a senior Al Qaeda leader and in essence say 'I'm David Hicks and I'm reporting for duty'," he said.
Colonel Davis says there is no truth to the argument Mr Hicks was simply a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But Mr Hicks's lawyer, David McLeod, says Colonel Davis's comments demonstrate what a sham the trial will be.
Mr McLeod says if those comments were made by a prosecutor in Australia, it would be grounds for a mistrial.
"What this prosecutor is seeking to do is to further demonise Hicks in the minds of those who will eventually be called upon to judge him," he said.
"Where are those people being sourced from?
"From the same Department of Defence that the prosecutor works for, and this is the whole problem with this process."
Trial on track
Meanwhile, the US Attorney-General has contacted his Australian counterpart, Philip Ruddock, to reassure the Federal Government that the US is on track to establish a military commission and charge Mr Hicks.
Mr Hicks has been detained at Guantanamo Bay without trial since 2002.
The Federal Opposition has called for Mr Hicks to be granted bail and released but Mr Ruddock says that is an issue for the US.
"The idea that Mr Hicks should be released and then expected, released to Australia and be placed under a control order and then at some later date returned to the United States seems to me to be a little naive," he said.