Australian David Hicks pleaded guilty at the Guant‡namo Bay Navy Base yesterday to supporting terrorism in exchange for a nine-month prison sentence under a plea deal that forbids him from claiming he was abused in U.S. custody.
In return, Hicks, 31, will be allowed to leave Guana‡namo within 60 days to serve out the sentence in his native Australia. He will be free by New Year’s Eve.
“They told us this was one of the world’s worst terrorists, and he got the sentence of a drunken driver,” said Ben Wizner, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Bush administration originally had sought life in prison for Hicks. But the presiding officer, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, disclosed that a Pentagon official had cut the deal.
Under the deal, Hicks agreed not to talk to reporters for a year, to forever waive any profit from telling his story, to renounce any claims of mistreatment or unlawful detention and to submit voluntarily to U.S. interrogation and testify at future U.S. trials or international tribunals.
And there you have it. One of the worst of the worst, as we are told, and even after abusing him and trying him in a kangaroo court of their own construction, the best our fearless leaders can get is 9 months. I sure feel safer now that this terrifying menace is off the streets. Maybe they should charge him with jaywalking to up the sentence?
That is how weak their case was, that is how weak this whole system is. The only security that this whole Hicks deal provides is security for the Government- Hicks can’t officially allege he was abused or talk to the press.
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When did we become such a damned joke? You know who else is going to be forcing people to sign paperwork stating they were not abused?
Seriously- we were told this guy and the others down there are the worst of the worst- real terrorist masterminds and vicious, murderous thugs, and that is why we couldn’t try them using ordinary means, etc. And the sentence they give this terrible menace is the legal equivalent of a wedgie.