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AUSTRALIA: NSW: Mardi Gras 2007

The World! | 03.03.2007 00:17 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles | World

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Howard Govt must challenge Hicks charge: Mori

The US lawyer for Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, says the Federal Government must challenge the American military over the terrorism charges laid against the South Australian.

The chief legal officer for the US military commissions, Judge Susan Crawford, formally approved the charge of providing material support of terrorism, but decided to drop another proposed charge of attempted murder.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of life in jail.

David Hicks, originally from Adelaide, is accused of training with terrorist group Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001.

Hicks's US lawyer, Major Michael Mori said that the the remaining charge against his client is without foundation, like the others that have already been dropped.

Major Mori is seeking an urgent meeting with federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock over the charges.

He says the charges prove the American military commission is fabricating offences.

"It's a made-up charge, it has a really impressive name, but it never existed in the law of war, in any of the US law of war manuals, or in any Australian law of war manual," he said.

"Again the United States administration, this military commission is fabricating offences, and trying to apply them retroactively to David and the Australian Government cannot be fooled a second time."

Major Mori says the Federal Government must become involved with the case before it goes to court .

"I want to speak to the Attorney-General's Department, make sure they understand the nature of the charge, the illegality of this new charge and it's about time they took some action and just didn't rely on US assurances any more," he said.

"We can not have another reinforcing of failure which the first commission system was, and putting David through an unfair system on made-up charges."

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