Saturday, March 31, 2007

Last week, Mark Kleiman wrote about the farce that was David Hicks' guilty plea (Hicks is the Australian held in Guantanamo for four years, then finally brought to trial on charges less serious than what he was originally accused of):
One of the most disgusting rituals in the criminal law is the judge's questioning of a defendant who offers to plead guilty. If he says he's been pressured into pleading, the deal is off. So if he has been pressured, the law in effect requires him to lie, and requires the judge to pretend to believe the lie, for the plea to be accepted....

I suppose if you're facing a military tribunal and the judge disqualifies two of your three lawyers on the eve of trial, leaving you only with the one who has already been threatened with prosecution himself for representing you too zealously and daring to criticize the judge, the Secretary of Defense, and the President, you're well-advised to plead guilty if you can get any sort of a deal at all. And of course if you don't say that your plea was voluntary and that the dismissal of two-thirds of your legal team had nothing to do with it, the bargain is no good.
Now comes the sentencing, and it gets worse:
Australian David Hicks pleaded guilty at the Guantanamo Bay Navy Base yesterday to supporting terrorism in exchange for a nine-month prison sentence under a plea deal that forbids him from claiming he was abused in U.S. custody.

In return, Hicks, 31, will be allowed to leave Guantanamo within 60 days to serve out the sentence in his native Australia. He will be free by New Year's Eve. [emphasis added]
So David Hicks is such a dangerous guy that he had to be held without trial for four years, but not so dangerous that he has to serve more than 9 months. Right.

No, obviously they did think he was dangerous...but not in that way. Silencing him was pretty clearly the most important part of the deal. Everything else was just leverage to accomplish that. The shamelessness of these people is breathtaking.

Update: link and quote added.

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