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Australia AG says Hicks Guantanamo trial unlikely to start this year

[JURIST] Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official website], speaking with reporters [transcript] Friday after meeting with US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other American officials about the case of Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive], said it is unlikely that Hicks will face trial this year. The US has promised that Hicks will be among the first detainees tried under the new military commissions framework just established by Congress [JURIST report] but implementation of the legislation could take some time.

Ruddock said:

I've sought assurances and have been given them that in relation to Mr Hicks, in particular, all of the issues that we had raised over time dealing with the nature of evidence that will be produced, the fairness of the trial process, the question of representation would be dealt with in accordance with the assurances that had been provided before.
Ruddock also said the bill allows a military commission decision to be appealed to a civilian judge, though Guantanamo Bay detainees will not have the same habeas corpus rights guaranteed to prisoners held in other US detention facilities. In August, Ruddock said the US promised not to seek the death penalty against Hicks [JURIST report] in connection with his alleged involvement with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The Australian has more.

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