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Doubts Raised About Trial of Australian

September 15, 2004|From Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian terrorism suspect David Hicks will not receive a fair trial by a U.S. military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and should face justice in another court, an independent legal observer of the process said today.

Lex Lasry, a prominent criminal lawyer in Melbourne, attended Hicks' pretrial hearing Aug. 25 at the U.S. military base. His report was commissioned by the Law Council of Australia, a national association of lawyers, to provide an expert legal opinion of Hicks' proceedings. Lasry made his report public today.

"Mr. Lasry recommends the Law Council call on the government to request the United States to remove David Hicks from the military commission process, and either place him before a court-martial, the U.S. civilian criminal justice system or return him to Australia," Law Council President Bob Gotterson said in a statement.

He added that the trial should include an "independent court with conventional rules of evidence and a judicial appellate structure."

Hicks is charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

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