Appeal gives hope for David Hicks

A UNITED States appeals court decision may have paved the way for Australian David Hicks to have his terror conviction overturned.

It's five years since a US military court found Mr Hicks guilty of providing material support for terrorism.

The law Mr Hicks was charged under was created in 2006 - five years after he was first detained in the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Up until then he had been held without charge.

But in a landmark decision in Washington, Osama bin Laden's former driver, who along with Mr Hicks was the first to be charged under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, this week succeeded in having his conviction overturned by the United States Court of Appeals.

The court ruled the law could not be applied retrospectively.

Mr Hicks told Fairfax media on Wednesday he planned to launch legal action against the Federal Government, claiming there had always been doubt about the conviction.

According to he has engaged his original lawyer Stephen Kenny to seek to have the conviction overturned.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon issued a statement indicating the Government was "examining the case to consider any local implications".

"The Labor Party in opposition had many concerns about the former Howard government's consular support to Mr Hicks," Ms Roxon's statement read.

"We are obviously not in a position to comment on the involvement of the Howard government and what ministers knew at the time of Mr Hicks's plea, considering this took place before the election of the Labor government."

Ms Roxon said because Mr Hicks's conviction was in the US legal system the prospect for an appeal was a matter for the US government.

"We are advised that there is no immediate impact for Mr Hicks's conviction and sentence arising out of this case at this stage. He was not a party to the case and there are potential appeal proceedings," the statement read.

"Mr Hicks will no doubt want to review this case for implications for him and decide whether to appeal his US conviction that was recorded."

Mr Hicks is also calling for an investigation into his detention.

He has the support of the Greens, who say the government has a "moral and legal obligation" to launch an inquiry.

The party's legal affairs spokeswoman Penny Wright said the US appeals court decision meant the government could no longer "sweep this under the carpet and hope it will all go away".

"This confirms what many people, including the Australian Greens, have always maintained - that David Hicks's conviction was illegitimate and invalid," Senator Wright said.

"The government must understand that this simply will not go away until the injustice to David Hicks has been addressed and we understand how it occurred."

Topics:  appeal david hicks terrorism usa

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