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Australia drops case over Guantanamo detainee's book profits

July 24, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • Former Guantanamo inmate David Hicks is the author of "Guantanamo: My Journey."
Former Guantanamo inmate David Hicks is the author of "Guantanamo:… (Greg Wood )

The Australian government on Tuesday dropped its case against David Hicks in which it sought to block the former Guantanamo detainee from profiting from "Guantanamo: My Journey," a book he wrote about his experiences.

Hicks, described as a former kangaroo skinner and Outback cowboy who left Australia for Afghanistan, was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the Associated Press reports.

While in Guantanamo, Hicks pleaded guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda. In Australia, criminals can be sued in federal court for proceeds earned from their crimes. 

Hicks' case was complicated by a few factors. The exact standing of the military commission in Guantanamo was not clear. Hicks has claimed that his admission was made under duress, which, his legal team said, included "instances of severe beatings, sleep deprivation and other conditions of detention that contravene international human rights norms."

The prosecution did not clarify matters when it announced it would drop the case. The Associated Press reports from Sydney, "Hicks had provided 'evidential material not previously available' to prosecutors after the initial legal challenge over his book profits was launched. The prosecutor's office did not explain what that evidence was, but said it subsequently decided that Hicks' admissions to the U.S. military commission could not be relied upon and opted to drop the case."

In "Guantanamo: My Journey," Hicks wrote that he had trained at a military camp in Afghanistan that was visited by Osama bin Laden but that this was not terrorism training.

Hicks will be able to keep his book proceeds, thought to be about $10,300. "Guantanamo: My Journey" is not currently available from a U.S. publisher.

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