The Australian Government may be unable to stop terror prisoner David Hicks from writing about and profiting from a book about his involvement with the Taliban and his detention in Guantanamo Bay, according to legal experts.
News Corporation reports legal experts as saying that Hicks’ is not bound by Australian proceeds-of-crime laws.
Dean of Law at the University of Sydney Ron McCallum and Melbourne Civil Liberties lawyer Robert Richter QC share the view that Hicks is free to keep the profits, while Melbourne University Press has received similar legal advice.
Attorney General Philip Ruddock is confident that changes made by the Federal Government to the proceeds-of-crime laws, specifically to prevent Hicks profiting from the book, will work.
But Mr Richter believes the nature of Hicks’ conviction, before a US military commission, might fall outside the legal definitions contemplated by Australian laws.
“Even though the legislation says it includes proceedings in front of a military commission established by President Bush, I think there is enough there to say that that won’t wash,” he said.
Hicks pleaded guilty at a US military commission last month to one count of providing support to a terrorist organisation.
Chief Executive of Melbourne University Press Louise Adler said the book “should be published”.