The Department of Defense announced today that a detainee at Guantanamo, David Matthew Hicks of Australia, has been convicted of material support to terrorism in the first trial by military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Hicks, 31, plead guilty earlier this week to one charge of providing material support to terrorism, a non-capital offense that carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. As part of a pretrial agreement, Hick’s sentence has been limited to not more than nine months confinement. A military commission panel of eight officers decided a sentence of seven years confinement, although six years and three months will be suspended per the conditions of the agreement. The sentence will be served in Australia as part of a transfer agreement with the United States.
As part of the pretrial agreement, Hicks admitted to 35 facts that supported the charge. These facts included training at multiple al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and joining fighters at Kandahar Airport and frontline forces in Konduz after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Hicks will be transferred to the control of the Australian government within 60 days. Hicks affirmed that he has never been illegally treated by anyone while in U.S. custody, from the time of his capture in Afghanistan in December 2001 through his time at Guantanamo.
Military commissions are regularly constituted courts, affording all the necessary judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples for purposes of common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.
Trials by military commission demonstrate that the United States is committed to holding dangerous terror suspects accountable for their actions. Military commissions provide a mechanism to serve justice to those accused of law of war violations while keeping the United States, friends and allies safe from those bent on carrying out attacks on civilian populations and coalition forces.