US government admits former Guantanamo detainee wrongfully convicted: lawyer News
US government admits former Guantanamo detainee wrongfully convicted: lawyer

[JURIST] A lawyer for former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] says the US government admitted his conviction was incorrect and did not dispute Hicks’ innocence. The US Court of Military Commission Review [official website] has not yet ruled on the appeal, but Hicks’ lawyer, Stephen Kenny, believes they will overturn the conviction. Hicks was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty in 2007 to providing material support for terrorism and appealed in 2013, claiming he pleaded under duress. As part of the plea agreement Hicks agreed never to appeal the conviction, which the lawyer believes [ABC report] may be the reason a ruling has been delayed. Hicks is now back in his home country of Australia.

In recent months the US government has released several detainees, including some held at the facilities at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week a Qatari man arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks and labeled an “enemy combatant” was released [JURIST report] and returned to his home nation. Earlier this month the convening authority for the Office of Military Commissions overturned the terror conviction against Sudanese national Noor Uthman Muhammed and dismissed [JURIST report] the charges against him. The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] last week announced [JURIST report] the transfer of five Guantanamo detainees; four were released to Oman, while one went to Estonia. In December the DOD announced the transfer [JURIST report] of six detainees from Guantanamo to Uruguay. DOD officials also announced that five prisoners at Guantanamo Bay would be released to the Kazakhstan government, and four more [JURIST reports] to Afghanistan.