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Hicks lawyer suing Australian government for failure to protect

[JURIST] Lawyers for Australian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] are filing a claim Monday in the Federal Court of Australia [official website] in an attempt to secure Hicks' release. Hicks' Australian defense team, headed by David McLeod, will charge the government with breaching its duty to protect Hicks, as a citizen, by failing to call for a fair trial. Justice Brian Tamberlin will first rule whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the case; McLeod said Sunday that a failure to grant jurisdiction essentially would mean that no court in the world can review US military commissions [JURIST news archive]. McLeod also pointed to the UK's 2005 success in gaining the release [JURIST report] of several of its citizens from Guantanamo as an example of the control the Australian government should demand over its own citizens. If Hicks' team is successful, the court could grant an order for his release.

Hicks is one of three high profile Guantanamo prisoners facing new charges [JURIST report] announced by the US earlier this month. 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 established by presidential order [JURIST report]. 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. Last week Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official profile] said that his government will not pardon Hicks [JURIST report] should he be convicted by a US military commission. AAP has more. The Herald Sun has additional coverage.

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