David Hicks Pleads Guilty
Wow. Big news:
Australian David Hicks pleaded guilty to a charge of supporting terrorism on Monday before a US military tribunal.
Looking somber with his hands clasped in front of him, Hicks, 31, stood beside his military lawyer who told the judge his client would not contest the charge of providing “material support for terrorism.
The plea came at a hastily arranged hearing a day after defense lawyers said Hicks was weighing a possible plea deal that could get him out of Guantanamo Bay, where he has spent more than five years at a US-run prison for “war on terror” detainees.
The chief prosecutor for the tribunals had said previously that a 20-year sentence would be a “reasonable” benchmark for Hicks. It was not clear if the military authorities would take into account his time served at the Guantanamo prison.
Hicks was captured in 2001 by the US-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and handed over to the United States, which eventually transferred him to the Guantanamo camp.
The plea followed a three hour hearing which was supposed to clear the way for a trial against Hicks before a special US military tribunal.
Hicks was accused of undergoing training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan and volunteered to fight alongside Taliban forces during the US-led invasion.
The charge sheet does not allege Hicks attacked a US target, but says he conducted surveillance on the abandoned US embassy in Kabul and met Osama bin Laden as well as accused “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
I certainly hope Hicks gets credit for his five years in Gitmo. Frankly, it should count double.