Major Michael Mori’s “forth­right criticism(link to BBC News site)”: of the US Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion that is try­ing his client—the Aus­tralian Guan­tanamo pris­on­er, David Hicks—highlights a fail­ure of the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment to pro­tect its own cit­i­zens. The government’s refusal to demand the release of an Aus­tralian who has com­mit­ted no crime under Aus­tralian law and its acqui­es­cence in a mil­i­tary tri­al that even his mil­i­tary lawyer describes in terms used for ‘kan­ga­roo courts’, weak­ens the rights of all Aus­tralians. Its agree­ment to enforce the out­come of the US tri­al only makes the sit­u­a­tion worse: by agree­ment with the USA, Hicks will serve any prison term in Aus­tralia. The gov­ern­ment believes, accord­ing to its Attor­ney Gen­er­al, that Hicks ‘has a case to answer’ about his asso­ci­a­tion with the Tal­iban. But there is no case: Hicks is inno­cent (not cul­pa­ble) under our laws and deserves the Government’s pro­tec­tion. The only jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that the Attor­ney can “offer(link to tran­script of ABC Radio interview)”: for the government’s neglect of its duty to Hicks is that the law has been sub­se­quent­ly changed in Aus­tralia: as if pros­e­cu­tion by proxy could excuse this Pon­tius Pilate act.

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