Hicks Wants Terrorism Charge Overturned

David Hicks a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay has started an appeal to have his conviction in the U.S. overturned for what he calls the “invented” crime of giving material support to terrorism.

Hicks’ lawyers lodged his appeal papers on Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Military Review. The papers argued for a dismissal of his conviction due to the offense not being a war crime while Hick was being detained.

In addition, the papers claim the guilty plea of Hicks was made while under duress due to his detention, abuse and torture while at Guantanamo.

Hick’s attorneys have argued he agreed to plead guilty due to not having to admit he committed a crime and would be allowed to go back to Australia, his home country.

Hicks was detained in 2001 in Afghanistan and then turned over to the U.S. military prior to being sent to Guantanamo Bay. He was part of the first group of prisoners incarcerated on the base in Cuba. He was held there for more than 6½ years prior to being convinced to enter an Alford Plea, which Australia does not recognize. The plea is meant to acknowledge that evidence exists but no admission is made to guilt.

The deal he made was that he would be found guilty in the U.S. of giving material support to terrorism but then would be allowed to go back to Australia and serve a prison sentence of seven months.

A similar conviction has been overturned by the court for the former driver of Osama bin Laden. Salim Hamdan was tried with Hicks by a military commission in the U.S. at Guantanamo.

Hicks said he does not expect justice at the military commission however, this he said was necessary in order to get into federal court, where he expects a fair hearing.

He is looking forward having the Guantanamo problems behind him and this acknowledgement made formally of illegality of the military commissions system is the last step in the process.

The government of Australia has already admitted that not enough evidence was present that a crime had been committed when it dropped its proceedings of criminal charges against him in 2012.

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