March 11, 2004
By staff writers and wires
TERROR suspect David Hicks should be tried in an established court, not a
US military tribunal, his American lawyer Major Michael Mori said today.
Adelaide-born Hicks is to face the tribunal after being captured in
Afghanistan during the war against terrorism. He has been held in
Guantanamo Bay without charge for more than two years.
Maj. Mori, who has been highly critical of the tribunal process, said it
was inevitable Hicks' would be the subject of a show trial.
"The system, unfortunately, does not have the independent checks and
balances of an established justice system and it's not going to provide a
fair trail," Maj. Mori said on Sky News today.
"The rules and procedures are set up to remove all the typical rights and
protections that would be in any justice system.
"If there's credible evidence against David Hicks, take him to an
established justice system, if there's not credible evidence, that doesn't
justify changing the rules."
Maj. Mori - in Adelaide to conduct research on his client and meet the
Hicks family - said he hoped the Australian Government would follow
Britain's lead and ensure Hicks' trial was held in accordance with
international law standards or he be returned home. Hicks' Australian
lawyer Stephen Kenny also expressed doubt today that his client would
receive a fair hearing.
Mr Kenny said it was unbelievable the Australian government would back such
"I find it quite unbelievable and even worse that the Australian government
are supporting it," he told Channel 7.
"In the trial they can use statements from people that aren't even going to
participate... if they feel that the evidence is worthwhile, they'll let it
in and we won't be able to cross examine them.
"It's not a system that is applicable anywhere in Australia."
Mr Kenny said the Australian Government had produced no evidence to show
Hicks would receive a fair hearing.
"The attorney-general has said it's a fair system but he's never produced
any evidence or any support from any lawyer to say that that's the case
because it's clearly not," Mr Kenny said.
Comments by Australian government ministers and US President George W Bush
meant it would be difficult for Hicks to receive a fair trial, Mr Kenny said.
He said the government had placed at risk all Australian citizens who were
picked up overseas and held without charge by any country because it had
not objected to America's treatment of Hicks.
Hicks was aware arrangements were being made for him to serve any sentence
back in Australia but did not know legislation to that effect had passed,
Mr Kenny said.