The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Joint Media Release

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer and The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock

10 May 2006

Government Finalises Transfer of Prisoner Arrangement with United States

The Government has reached an understanding with the United States concerning the possible transfer of prisoners sentenced by a United States Military Commission. 

The arrangement was signed in Washington on 9 May 2006 by Australia's Ambassador to the United States, Dennis Richardson, and the Legal Advisor to the Appointing Authority, Office of Military Commissions, Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway.

Transfers would need the approval of the Australian and United States Governments and the transferee and would only be possible after the judgment of the Military Commission is final.  The enforcement of the sentence will be governed by Australian law but must maintain the legal nature and duration of the original sentence. 

The Arrangement is consistent with the requirements of the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997and complements existing arrangements with the United States.

Should Mr David Hicks, who is currently facing charges before the Military Commission, be convicted, the arrangement would provide a means for Mr Hicks to apply to be transferred to serve any penal sentence in Australia in accordance with Australian and US law.

Inquiries:  Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 02 62777 500 - Charlie McKillop (Mr Ruddock's office) 02 6277 7300

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