Monday, April 02, 2007

The American view of the Hicks " trial"

Whilst discussion in the Oz media has shifted to how David Hicks is to be imprisoned in Australia and what risk, if any, he poses when released, the LA Times reports on the reaction in the US, at least from some, to the Hicks "trial":

"The first war-crimes trial here drew outrage Saturday from legal experts who described it as a perversion of the rule of law that may fatally discredit the Pentagon's already disparaged handling of terrorism suspects.

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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