Office of Military Commissions Refers Charge Against ‘Australian Taliban’
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2007 The Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions referred a charge today against David Matthew Hicks, an Australian captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.
Judge Susan J. Crawford, the convening authority, referred one charge with two specifications of providing military support for terrorism. DoD officials said this is not a capital case.
The referral is the first under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Hicks became known as “the Australian Taliban” following his capture. He is being held at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
Under new procedures, Hicks must be arraigned within 30 days of receiving the charges. Within 120 days of receiving the charges, the military judge will assemble the military commission for trial on the merits. DoD officials said they expect the Hicks trial will begin in the summer.
Just as in the United States, Hicks is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He has legal representation, officials said.
If convicted, Hicks can serve his sentence in Australia, U.S. government officials said.
DoD officials expect referrals for other detainees shortly.
Officials said on background that probably only 60 to 70 detainees will be charged with crimes under the commissions.