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Australia PM supports US re-charging sole Australian Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] spoke out Sunday in support of the Pentagon's decision to recharge 31-year-old David Hicks [JURIST news archive], the single Australian terror suspect at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], notwithstanding US inclusion of a criminal count - providing material support to terrorists - that was only put into law four months ago. Australian defense lawyers and the opposition Labor party have protested that the charge is illegal under Australian law as retrospective legislation.

Hicks is one of three high profile Guantanamo prisoners facing new changes [JURIST report] announced by the US Friday. The original US charges against Hicks, Canadian Omar Khadr [Trial Watch profile] and Yemeni Salim Ahmed [Trial Watch profile] had to be dropped after the US Supreme Court ruled the original military commissions system established by President Bush unconstitutional without Congressional authorization [JURIST report]. The new charges will not be considered formal until they are approved, a process expected to take another two weeks. AP has more.

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