23 January 2004

US military lawyer labels Hicks trial process unfair

MICHAEL MORI: Are we going to be given the time to prepare? Don't forget, the Government's had this for, you know, two years. Who knows how many investigative agencies have been working on this - unlimited resource - as they should. But what assets will the defence get? What resources? What experts will be allowed? How freely we're going to be able to move and obtain evidence?

LEIGH SALES: Despite his concerns, Major Mori intends to remain with the Hicks case.

MICHAEL MORI: I'm not going to abandon David Hicks.

LEIGH SALES: Major Mori has now been to Guantanamo Bay to see David Hicks three times, and offered this assessment of his client's condition.

MICHAEL MORI: Physically, he's fair as to be expected when you don't, you know, the conditions he's being held at. Mentally, he is probably - best way to describe it is degenerated to the point where his main concerns are the basic human instincts, desires - what he needs.

LEIGH SALES: He sees no reason David Hicks shouldn't be tried in Australia under Australian law.

MICHAEL MORI: In fairness, if David Hicks has violated a law of war, an international law, there's no reason why it would not apply in Australia - that's universal jurisdiction, and so he should be tried in his country.

LEIGH SALES: The military lawyer says he wishes the Australian Government had spoken to defence counsel before it agreed to the US Government's proposals for trying David Hicks. He says it will be worth noting what the British Government secures for its nationals at Guantanamo Bay, a matter still under discussion between Downing Street and the White House.

More on this when the transcript of Mori's appearance on the 7:30 report tonight is available.

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