Lifestyle & Belief

Australian former GITMO detainee David Hicks can keep profit from book


A TV frame grab of an undated photo taken in Kosovo shows Australian David Hicks (L) who has been captured with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda troops near Kandahar, 12 December 2001.

An Australian former GITMO detainee David Hicks will be allowed to keep any profits from his controversial book, "Guantanamo: My Journey," which documents his six years in detention on the Cuban naval base.

Profits from the book — in which Hicks tells tells his side of how he came to join the Taliban in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks on the US — had been frozen under Australian proceeds of crime laws.

However, Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions told the Supreme Court in Sydney that it had dropped its case against Hicks, The Australian reported.

Hicks — raised in Adelaide, south Australia — immediately painted the decision as proof that he had committed no crime and his name had been cleared.

"Today has shown that the DPP have no evidence that I've committed any crime," Hicks told reporters outside the court.

According to the Fairfax media, he said he had been unfairly pursued by the Australian government.

"In a way I feel that this has cleared my name and I hope now that the Australian government acknowledges that Guantanamo Bay and everything connected with it is illegal," he said.

"I've always felt that it's always been political, whether back in the days of Guantanamo Bay and now I've been out for four years and we're still going and there's been some closure to that today.

"If there was actually any evidence, if any crime had been committed we would have been able to proceed at court but they've pulled the pin, they weren't prepared to fight us on that."

Hick, who converted to Islam and traveled to Kosovo and Kashmir before ending up in Afghanistan spent more than five years in GITMO after pleading guilty before a US military commission to providing material support for terrorism.

He was returned to Australia under a plea deal in 2007 and released from prison later that year.

According to The Australian, his book, which also recounts his travels in Kosovo and Kashmir, is believed to have sold about 30,000 copies and generated about $10,000.

The dropping of the DPP case against Hicks prompted Australia's Greens Party to renew its call for an independent inquiry into his treatment.

According to the Nine Network, Greens legal affairs spokeswoman Penny Wright said the DPP move was acknowledgement that the case against Hicks had always been baseless.

"With the abandonment of this case, it is time for an independent and open inquiry into what role the former Australian government played in the treatment of Mr Hicks and the circumstances surrounding his plea deal," she said in a statement.

"This is bigger than just David Hicks. It is about the role of an Australian government in defending the rule of law and the human rights of its citizens."

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