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Hicks lawyer says dangerous terrorist label will prevent fair trial at Guantanamo

[JURIST] Comments by the commander of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] that Australian detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] continues to be a dangerous terrorist [ABC Australia report] were cited by one of Hicks' lawyers Thursday as an example of why Hicks will not receive a fair trial. Rear Admiral Harry Harris [official profile], commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay [official website] and head of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, told ABC's PM program [recorded audio] that there are no innocent men being held. Harris also added that it is the right of any nation at war to detain enemy combatants without the expectation that they be charged or tried. Echoing the growing concern [JURIST report; ABC Australia report] in Australia about the handling of Hicks' case, Hicks defense lawyer David McLeod noted that in the Australian criminal court system the suggestion that a prisoner is guilty would lead to a mistrial.

Hicks is one of three high profile Guantanamo prisoners facing new charges [JURIST report] announced by the US last 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 was unconstitutional as initially constituted [JURIST report]. The new charges must still receive formal approval, a process expected to take another two weeks. Hicks was picked up in Afghanistan in 2001 while allegedly fighting for the Taliban. US prosecutors claim that he trained at up to four terrorist camps. Australia's ABC News has more.

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