Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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April 6, 2007

And I don’t mean the Hugh Grant classic from 1995.The New York Times editorial page gets it exactly right on the Hicks plea bargain:

Americans who support Mr. Bush’s policy on prisoners accepted its premise: that the people in Guantánamo are so dangerous that letting any out will compromise American security. If an injustice were committed here or there, Americans would just have to grit their teeth. How does that square with allowing Mr. Hicks to go home and quickly go free? Worse, the plea bargain seemed timed to help Prime Minister John Howard, a Bush ally whose inaction on the case was becoming a re-election issue in Australia.

I ask you, would such a political maneuver have happened in a legitimate prosecution under federal international terrorism laws in federal court?Let’s recap what happened here: we permitted someone who the government has declared time and time again as one of the worst of the worst, all the more dangerous because he’s a native Australian allegedly seduced by al-Qaeda, to serve nine short months—and then go free.Why? Because the ad hoc, ramshackle system in place down in Gitmo lends itself to this type of geo-political tomfoolery. The suspension of habeas in the MCA is part and parcel of this breakdown in process. We need Jack McCoy on the case, not John Howard’s reelection minders (with all due respect to the Australian Prime Minister).

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