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Australia PM to press US for speedy Hicks trial following new charges

[JURIST] Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] said Monday that the Australian government will do more to pressure the US to expedite the trial of David Hicks [JURIST news archive]. In a cabinet meeting on Monday, officials informed Howard of the growing public concern about the case [ABC News report], and Howard later told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he was "very unhappy with the length of time it has taken and we will be harassing the Americans from now on at every point to ensure that the deadlines that are set under the new legislation are met." Lawyers representing Hicks have expressed anger and frustration [Herald report] over the new charges against their client, telling the Sydney Morning Herald Monday that waiting until after their latest visit to Hicks at Guantanamo to announce new charges [JURIST report] against him was an "act of bastardry."

Hicks is one of three high profile Guantanamo prisoners facing new charges announced by the US Friday. The original charges against Hicks, Canadian Omar Khadr and Yemeni Salim Hamdan [Trial Watch profiles] and other detainees had to be dropped after the US Supreme Court ruled the original military commissions system 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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