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US-Australia prisoner transfer agreement may affect Hicks

[JURIST] The Australian and US governments will both have to approve the transfer of prisoners sentenced by US military commissions under the terms of a new agreement reached earlier this week, according to a statement from Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. The agreement, reached Tuesday, may apply to David Hicks [JURIST news archive; advocacy website], the Australian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee facing military commission proceedings after being captured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2001. The agreement could allow Hicks to be transferred to Australia for incarceration if US authorities are in accord. Read Downer's press release, issued jointly with Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

Hicks is currently seeking UK citizenship so he can urge British officials to push for his release. His mother is a British citizen, entitling Hicks to citizenship under UK law, but the UK Home Office has so far delayed a decision Hicks' application due to public policy concerns [JURIST report]. The Home Office had sought leave to appeal [ABC Australia report] the April 12 UK Court of Appeal decision [JURIST report] holding that Hicks should be granted British citizenship. Bloomberg has more. ABC Australia has local coverage.

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