U.S. court says Australian David Hicks did not commit a war crime
Australian David Hicks announced relief after a U.S. court overturned his terrorism conviction Wednesday.
The court declared that the former Guantanamo Bay inmate did not commit a war crime, therefore his conviction was not eligible to be heard in a military court, reports the BBC.
“It’s a relief because it’s over,” Hicks said in a Sydney news conference.
Hicks, 39, pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges of providing material support to terrorism. In 2000, Hicks trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan and participated in an attack against Indian forces. In 2001, the Northern Alliance captured Hicks in Afghanistan, where he met Osama bin Laden and enrolled in Al-Qaeda training camps, the BBC reported.
In a rare move, the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review overturned his conviction in a unanimous ruling. Under new rules, providing material support for terrorism no longer qualifies as a war crime for events prior to 2006.
Hicks was sentenced to seven years in Guantanamo Bay, but after pleading guilty, he was allowed to return to Australia after nine months. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said, “Let’s not forget whatever the legalities… he was up to no good on his own admission.”