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

Joint Media Release

The Hon Alexander Downer MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Philip Ruddock MP, Attorney General

3 February 2007

David Hicks: charges outlined

The Australian Government welcomes the move by the United States to charge David Hicks.

The swearing of charges is a timely development that meets the Prime Minister's recent call to charge Mr Hicks before mid February. However, the Government remains anxious to ensure that his case is dealt with expeditiously and fairly, and will continue to press the United States.

The charges are attempted murder in violation of the law of war and providing material support for terrorism. If the charges are approved by the Convening Authority of the military commissions, they will then be formally served on Mr Hicks and his defence.

The Military Commissions Manual specifies strict timeframes to ensure there is no undue delay once charges are served. Within 30 days of charges being served, an accused must be brought before the military commission judge. On that day, the charges will be read and the accused will be asked to submit a plea. Within 120 days of the service of the charges, the military judge must announce the formation of the military commission.

Mr Hicks’ defence counsel have been notified of the charges and US authorities have informed Mr Hicks. Australian Government officials have notified Mr Hicks’ family.

The allegations against Mr Hicks are serious, but untested. The Government will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Hicks, as well as funding for the legal consultants who are assisting his defence.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500, Mr Ruddock's office - Michael Pelly

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