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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks charged with assaulting partner

Detainees in orange jumpsuits at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Detainees in orange jumpsuits at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks appeared in an Australian court on Tuesday charged with assaulting his partner.

Hicks, 41, appeared in the Elizabeth Magistrates' Court in his home town of Adelaide for a pre-trial conference on a charge that he assaulted his partner in September. He has yet to plead to the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.

He was released on bail to appear next on February 28. Journalists were not permitted inside the courtroom.

The Muslim convert was captured in Afghanistan by the US-backed Northern Alliance in late 2001 as a suspected enemy combatant, then spent more than five years at Guantanamo Bay.

He pleaded guilty in a US court of military commission in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism. It was a plea bargain in which all but nine months of his seven-year sentence was suspended and he was allowed to return to Adelaide to serve the final months.

The US court of military commission review, an appeals court, struck down his conviction in 2015. Hicks says he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo Bay.

Hicks travelled to Pakistan in 2000, joined the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and took part in an attack on Indian forces, according to court records.

He later went to Afghanistan and attended a training camp run by al Qaida and visited by its leader Osama bin Laden. Hicks's only real fighting experience was helping to guard a Taliban tank near Kandahar airport.

In his memoir published in Australia in 2010, Guantanamo: My Journey, Hicks wrote that US authorities offered detainees inducements including illicit drugs and prostitutes to gain their cooperation.

After his release from prison, he married activist human rights advocate Aloysia Brooks in Sydney in 2009, but the couple later separated.

The identity of the partner who made the assault complaint has not been made public.

AP

Press Association

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