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UK Foreign Office takes over Hicks Guantanamo release case

[JURIST] The UK Foreign Office [official website] on Friday took control of the case of Australian David Hicks [JURIST news archive], an accused Taliban member who has been detained at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] for over four years. The UK High Court has ruled that Britain should grant citizenship [JURIST report] to Hicks because Hicks' mother is a British citizen, but this week denied an order mandating the UK Home Office [official website] to grant Hicks immediate citizenship. The same order nonetheless directed that jurisdiction over Hicks be transferred to the Foreign Office. Hicks wants to become a British citizen so that the UK Foreign Office can push the US to free him from Guantanamo Bay, as it has successfully done in the past with other British detainees. Hicks' lawyer Stephen Grosz believes that UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will have to push for Hicks' release because Hicks is one of ten Guantanamo detainees awaiting trial by a military commission [JURIST news archive], a process which the UK government has publicly condemned.

Meanwhile, an Australian opposition parliament on Friday accused the government of Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] of abusing Hicks' human rights by defending the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report] and called for the closure of Guantanamo. From Australia, the Herald Sun has more.

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