Gitmo Legal Process Questioned After Hicks Trial
Posted on Apr 1, 2007
The handling of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks’ war-crimes trial has triggered widespread criticism and speculation about politically motivated maneuverings that could undermine the entire legal operation at the Cuban prison camp.
Australian detainee David Hicks, whom prosecutors cast as a highly trained and dangerous Al Qaeda operative, will be out of prison before the year ends because of a secret deal cut by the Bush administration appointee overseeing the military commissions.
The jury went through the motions: The panel of senior military officers flew in from around the world, deliberated for two hours and sentenced Hicks—who had entered a guilty plea—to what they’d been told was the maximum term of seven years.
But the person overseeing the tribunals, veteran Defense Department lawyer Susan J. Crawford, had bypassed the prosecution and cut a pretrial deal directly with the defense to suspend all but nine months of any sentence rendered in exchange for the guilty plea.
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