Australian David Hicks Convicted of Terror Charge

David Hicks has been convicted of aiding terrorists. Ironically, this means he will soon be free to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison.

A military judge convicted Australian detainee David Hicks of providing material support for terrorism, a charge he pleaded guilty to. The prison sentence would be limited to seven years under terms of a plea bargain, a military judge at Guantanamo Bay said Friday.

The judge, Marine Corps. Col. Ralph Kohlmann, revealed the terms of the agreement at a hearing earlier Friday. It was not immediately clear whether the maximum sentence accounts for the five years Hicks has already spent at Guantanamo Bay. Under an agreement between the U.S. and Australia, Hicks will serve any sentence in his own country.

I don’t see how the five years already served could not count.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Terrorism, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. It would all depend on the terms of the plea bargain. If the terms are 7 years from when transferred from Guantanamo, then its seven years.

    Another way to look at it is imagine if Hess had received a 10 year sentence (like Donitz). Hess was imprisoned in 1941 after being caught on his jaunt to Scotland. The Nuremberg passed sentence in 1946 and sent the prisoners to Spandau in 1947. Should Hess then serve 5 or 4 more years or do you count it as 6 years of being a prisoner of war and 10 years for war crimes?

    Donitz was captured on May 23, 1945 and released in October 1, 1956 from his 10 year sentence. So it would seem they started counting his prison time from when judged guilty and didn’t include prisoner of war or trial time.

  2. Ugh says:

    Ah, the worstest most awfulest terrorists evar are held at Gittmo according to the administration. And the plea deal for one of these horrible terrorists? 7 years – possibly as short as 2 with time served.

  3. Ugh,

    Do you have any evidence to the government calling Hick’s the worstest most awful terrorist?

    I would go back to the Nuremberg trials to compare language used in prosecution vs sentence. Donitz got 10 years, Fritzsche, Von Pappen, and Schacht all were acquitted. Krupp wasn’t even tried because of ill health. On the other hand, Streicher, Seyss-Inquart, Sauckel, Rosenberg, Frick and Frank all got the death penalty. So different faces of the same evil got very different sentences.

  4. Ugh says:

    They have repeatedly call the people held at gittmo, not “some”, not “many”, not “most,” the “worst of the worst” of al Qaeda – so dangerous that we could never let them out or they would “return to the battlefield.” I’m just trying to hold them to their own standards.

  5. Pretty thin Ugh. By that standard, Truman let go real Nazi murderers since several of the first to be charged were acquitted. Those uncaring democrats who just want murders to go free and not see justice.

    But if that is how you see a better world being made, distorting positions for political point scoring, so be it.