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Australia repeats intent to seek Hicks return if charges not laid soon

[JURIST] The Australian government will request the return of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archives] if the US fails to charge him under the revised military commissions framework, Australia's attorney general told a meeting of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) [official website] Monday. In August, Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official profile] said that he would seek Hicks' return [JURIST report] if charges were not brought by November. US officials are currently working to hammer out a new military commissions system under the recently signed Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text; JURIST report]. Last month, the Australian justice minister denounced Hicks' five-year detention [JURIST report] at Guantanamo Bay without charge.

Hicks was taken to Guantanamo Bay after he was captured in Afghanistan, where he allegedly had been fighting with the Taliban. His defense lawyers have said they plan to challenge the Military Commissions Act as unconstitutional [JURIST report]. A legal challenge to the act provisions stripping detainees of habeas corpus, or the right to challenge detentions in court, is already under way [JURIST report] in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. AAP has more.

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