The Australian government folded a civil case against former Guantanamo Bay prison inmate David Hicks after former Guantanamo guard Brandon Neely pledged to testify under oath to conditions Hicks endured at that prison. The move prompted leftists in Australia to charge that the government was “suppressing evidence” of mistreatment at Guantanamo, a claim that some former Guantanamo guards have affirmed.
Australian national and Muslim convert Hicks had served more than five years in Guantanamo without trial or formal charges after being detained with Taliban forces in 2001, and was released to Australian custody in 2007 after agreeing to plead guilty to terrorism-related charges. The plea bargain was a political deal struck between then-Vice President Dick Cheney's office and the Australian government; the military commission charged with prosecuting Hicks had nothing to do with the plea deal. The Australian government released Hicks from custody in December 2007. Hicks now argues that his plea deal was entered under duress, and that pleading guilty after more than five years in legal limbo was the only way to get his day in court.
“Even if Hicks had been acquitted through the [military commission] system, he probably would’ve been detained at Guantanamo indefinitely,” Hicks' lawyer Steven Glass told the Australian magazine Lawyers Weekly. “The only way he was going to get home to Australia was to plead guilty.”
Hicks' 2010 book Guantanamo: My Journey earned some $10,000 in royalties, but the Australian director of public prosecutions (DPP) invoked the country's 2002 ""Proceeds of Crimes Act” to try to prevent Hicks from gaining access to the profits from his book. With the government dropping the lawsuit, Hicks will now collect royalties on the estimated 30,000 copies of the book sold.
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Photo of Camp Delta rec area at Guantanamo Bay