A legal adviser attached to the US military commissions hearing David Hicks
case says if Hicks is convicted he will not be given credit for the time
he has already served in prison.
The trial of Hicks, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for
nearly four years, is expected to begin next month.
Brigadier General Thomas L Hemingway says people are captured and held
during a conflict to keep them from the battlefield.
He says the time they are detained does not count when they are sentenced.
"Much as you had in World War II when you tried people for war crimes, you
certainly didn't turn around and say the time that you spent as a prisoner
of war is going to count on the running of your sentence," he said.
"That just wasn't the case and it is not the case here."
This announcement has caught Hicks's defence team by surprise.
Major Michael Mori says Brigadier General Hemingway is not the independent
legal adviser he is meant to be.
"I think that is a perfect example of where this supposed legal adviser is
already pre-judging issues involved in David's case," he said.
"When his sentence credits should begin would be an issue for the trial and
what we see here is this person, who is supposed to provide independent
legal advice, has already pre-judged these issues."
Hicks's lawyers also say the British Government received his application for
citizenship on October 3 and they anticipate a decision within six weeks.
That means even before the next hearing the British Government may be called
on to intervene in the process - all Britons detained at Guantanamo Bay have
However, Brigadier General Hemingway says no one has yet been released from
Guantanamo Bay who has been charged.
"I think the key feature, the key difference between Hicks and the other
people who were sent back is that he has been charged and proceeding have
started," he said.
"We've not sent anybody back who has been charged and against whom we have
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