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Australian AGs demand return of Hicks

[JURIST] Australian state and territory attorneys general demanded action Tuesday in the case of David Hicks [JURIST news archive], an Australian detainee held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] since 2002. Upset that the US has failed to charge Hicks under revised military commission rules, the AGs sent Australian Attorney General Phillip Ruddock [official profile], their federal counterpart, a photo of Hicks' cell and urged that Hicks be brought to Australia to face trial. Queensland Attorney General Kerry Shine [official profile] said the Australian federal government should demand Hicks' return to Australia. "Either that he is brought to trial in the United States quickly or he is returned to Australia," Shine was quoted as saying by ABC News. "Under just natural justice, ordinary principles, he's entitled to his day in court and he's entitled to it well before now."

Hicks was taken to Guantanamo Bay after he was captured in Afghanistan, where he allegedly had been fighting for the Taliban. He was charged [PDF text; JURIST report] in 2004, but his trial was delayed [JURIST reports] while the US Supreme Court considered, and eventually ruled against, the legality of the military commissions system. New charges are expected to be filed against Hicks and other detainees once new commission procedures are finalized under the recently-passed Military Commissions Act [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, Australian federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock told a meeting of Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission that he would seek Hicks' return if new charges were not laid against him [JURIST report]. US President George W. Bush has assured Australian Prime Minister John Howard [JURIST report] that Hicks will be brought to trial, but has refused to give a timetable. ABC News has more.

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