David Hicks

David Hicks

David Matthew Hicks (born 7 August 1975 in Adelaide, South Australia) is an Australian who was convicted by the United States Guantanamo military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, on charges of providing material support for terrorism. Hicks was detained by the United States in Guantanamo Bay detention camp from 2001 until 2007 following earlier para-military training at Al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan during 2001.

Hicks became one of the first people charged and subsequently convicted under the Military Commissions Act. There was widespread Australian and international criticism and political controversy over Hicks' treatment, the evidence tendered against him, his trial outcome, and the newly created legal system under which he was prosecuted. In October 2012 the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the charge under which Hicks had been convicted was invalid because the law did not exist at the time of the alleged offence, and it could not be applied retrospectively.

Earlier, during 1999, Hicks converted to Islam, took the name Muhammed Dawood, and was later reported as publicly denounced due to Hicks' lack of religious observance. Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Afghan Northern Alliance and sold for a US$1,000 bounty to the United States military. He was transported to Guantanamo Bay where he was designated an enemy combatant, during which time he alleges he was tortured. Charges were first filed against Hicks in 2004 under a military commission system newly created by Presidential Order. Those proceedings failed in 2006 when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that the military commission system was unconstitutional. The military commission system was re-established by an act of the United States Congress. Revised charges were filed against Hicks in February 2007 before a new commission under the new act. The following month, in accordance with a pre-trial agreement struck with convening authority Judge Susan J. Crawford, Hicks entered an Alford plea to a single newly codified charge of providing material support for terrorism. Hicks's legal team attributed his acceptance of the plea bargain to his "desperation for release from Guantanamo" and duress as "instances of severe beatings, sleep deprivation and other conditions of detention that contravene international human rights norms."

In April 2007, Hicks was returned to Australia to serve the remaining nine months of a suspended seven-year sentence. During this period, Hicks was precluded from all media contact and there was criticism for delaying his release until after the 2007 Australian election. Former Pentagon chief prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis later alleged political interference in the case by the Bush administration in the United States and the Howard government in Australia. He also said that Hicks should not have been prosecuted. Hicks served his term in Adelaide's Yatala Labour Prison and was released under a control order on 29 December 2007. The control order expired in December 2008. Now married, Hicks lives in Sydney and has written an autobiography.

Read more about David Hicks:  Early Life, Religious and Militant Activities, Capture and Detention, Torture Allegations, New Charges, Pre-trial Agreement and Sentence, Repatriation, Release and Charge Ruled Invalid

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