The Australian Taliban: Australian vs. U.S. Justice

Lawyers for captured Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks said they could not see how Hicks could be charged with any offence under Australian law, reports. However, it was unclear what fate may await him in the US, where he was being detained under a special presidential military order, his lawyer Stephen Kenny said. When Hicks joined the Taliban in Afghanistan they were in government and fighting a civil war against the Northern Alliance, Mr Kenny said. "It's very much like other Australians who have gone and fought for other governments around the world," Mr Kenny told the Nine Network's Today program. "There is no offence with that. "The Taliban, at the time he went there, which was probably a year before September 11, was not engaged in any activity against the United States. "...In Australian law we've had the government officials comment on various charges and we've looked at those and we fail to see what he could possibly be charged with." However, American law was more complex and Hicks' lawyers had not spoken to him so did not know all of the facts, Mr Kenny said. "Nor have we been informed by the authorities of what the allegations are against him," he said. "So at this stage we are completely in the dark as to what charges he may face in the United States." Hicks is being detained under military order of President George W Bush and there are no time limits on his detention. Under the order, he can be brought before a military tribunal where the normal rules of evidence did not apply. President Bush could overturn a sentence or conviction from the tribunal, including the death penalty. The order also prevented action in a court anywhere else in the world by Hicks, Mr Kenny said. He said the Hicks family had recently received a letter from their son. “He hasn't gone into any detail about his actions or how he felt about it," he said. "It was really more a message to his family which was really in a keeping with the Red Cross rules."

Henry L. Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney

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