Hicks faces first Guantanamo trial under new US Military Commissions Act

[JURIST] Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] will be arraigned [JURIST report] Monday as the first prisoner charged under the new Military Commissions Act [PDF text; JURIST news archive] passed by the US Congress last year. Lawyers for Hicks, who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prison camp for over five years, say their client plans to make a statement [BBC report] to the tribunal that will likely address his feelings on the injustice of the military commissions process and the conditions of his detention. Hicks' arraignment is moving forward after a federal judge Friday refused to delay his case until after the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] hears a legal challenge by detainees who want their cases heard in US courts, not by military commissions. Lawyers for Hicks said he plans to plead not guilty to the charge of providing material support to terrorists [JURIST report], but they are continuing plea bargain negotiations [ABC Australia report] with US prosecutors that they hope will result in a sentence of time already served or will allow Hicks to serve out any further prison time in Australia. The full trial against Hicks is set to begin in July. AP has more.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Hicks continue to seek the disqualification of Col. Morris Davis as the chief prosecutor in the case against him based on comments [JURIST report] that Davis made about Hicks' military lawyer Maj. Michael Mori [NineMSN profile]. Mori has been outspoken in his defense of Hicks, condemning military commissions as "kangaroo courts" and speaking out publicly on the case during seven visits to Australia. Davis responded by questioning Mori's actions as going against the expected conduct of a US Marine and alleged that Mori may have violated a law that criminalizes US soldiers in making "contemptuous" remarks about the president or other top officials. Monday's New York Times has more.

 

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