Australian launches appeal against terrorism conviction


Helen Davidson
The Guardian
November 5, 2013

The legal team for David Hicks, the Australian tried and convicted for terrorism offences in Guantánamo Bay, has lodged an appeal in US courts to have his conviction quashed.

Court documents, submitted to the US court of military commission review and seen by Guardian Australia, base the appeal on several factors. They argue that the charge to which Hicks pleaded guilty – providing material support for terrorism – was not an offence at the time and was out of the jurisdiction of the military commission which convicted him; that Hicks was “erroneously advised” by the court and counsel that the act was a war crime; and that his guilty plea was “plainly involuntary” given he was subject to torture and abuse while detained.

Hicks pleaded guilty in March 2007. He had been caught by northern alliance forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and detained in Guantánamo Bay prison. In May 2007 he was sentenced to seven years – all but nine months of which was suspended. About two months after being sentenced, Hicks was transferred to Australia where he served his sentence until 29 December of that year. He remains under the suspended sentence.

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