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Hicks's jail time 'would not count toward sentence'
A legal adviser attached to the US military commissions hearing David Hicks case says if Hicks is convicted he will not be given credit for the time he has already served in prison.

The trial of Hicks, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for nearly four years, is expected to begin next month.

Brigadier General Thomas L Hemingway says people are captured and held during a conflict to keep them from the battlefield.

He says the time they are detained does not count when they are sentenced.

"Much as you had in World War II when you tried people for war crimes, you certainly didn't turn around and say the time that you spent as a prisoner of war is going to count on the running of your sentence," he said.

"That just wasn't the case and it is not the case here."

This announcement has caught Hicks's defence team by surprise.

Major Michael Mori says Brigadier General Hemingway is not the independent legal adviser he is meant to be.

"I think that is a perfect example of where this supposed legal adviser is already pre-judging issues involved in David's case," he said.

"When his sentence credits should begin would be an issue for the trial and what we see here is this person, who is supposed to provide independent legal advice, has already pre-judged these issues."

Citizenship bid

Hicks's lawyers also say the British Government received his application for citizenship on October 3 and they anticipate a decision within six weeks.

That means even before the next hearing the British Government may be called on to intervene in the process - all Britons detained at Guantanamo Bay have been released.

However, Brigadier General Hemingway says no one has yet been released from Guantanamo Bay who has been charged.

"I think the key feature, the key difference between Hicks and the other people who were sent back is that he has been charged and proceeding have started," he said.

"We've not sent anybody back who has been charged and against whom we have initiated proceedings."

  • Click Here for Guantanamo Bay information page.

  • Hicks's jail time should count: Downer

    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says if David Hicks is found guilty, any sentence he is given should include the time he has already served in prison

    The trial of Hicks, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for nearly four years, is expected to begin next month.

    He faces a number of terrorism-related charges pertaining to his activities in Afghanistan.

    The United States military commission's legal adviser, Brigadier General Thomas L Hemingway, says Hicks will not be given credit for the time he has spent in Guantanamo Bay if he is convicted.

    He says the time they are detained does not count when they are sentenced.

    "Much as you had in World War II when you tried people for war crimes, you certainly didn't turn around and say the time that you spent as a prisoner of war is going to count on the running of your sentence," he said.

    "That just wasn't the case and it is not the case here."

    But Mr Downer says if the time Hicks has been in detention is not counted, he will raise the issue with the US Government.

    "I'm not aware that the Americans want to have it otherwise, but if they do then we'll make representations to them to urge them to take into account the period that Mr Hicks has already spent in prison," he said.

    "But if he's convicted he will be convicted of extremely serious offences and it's worth remembering that."

  • Click Here for Guantanamo Bay information page.

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