[JURIST] The US Court of Military Commission Review [official website] on Wednesday set aside the terrorism convictions [opinion, PDF] of former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive]. Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism, which was one of the few cases of successful prosecution of a Guantanamo detainee. In 2014 an appeals court decided that material support was not a valid war crime, but Hicks had previously agreed not to make any appeals as part of his plea bargain. The US military court rejected this argument, however, allowing Hicks’ appeal. One of Hicks’ lawyers said last month that the US government had admitted his conviction was incorrect [JURIST report] and did not dispute Hicks’ innocence.
In recent months the US government has released several detainees, including some held at the facilities at Guantanamo [JURIST backgrounder]. In late January a defense lawyer sought to have the charges dropped against Guantanamo prisoner Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, arguing that the US is violating international law and the Constitution by prosecuting him for war crimes. In early January 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. Also last 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. In December the Department of Defense (DOD) announced the transfer [JURIST report] of six detainees from Guantanamo to Uruguay. DOD officials also announced that five prisoners at Guantanamo would be released to the Kazakhstan government, and four more [JURIST reports] to Afghanistan.