Saturday, March 31, 2007

Disturbing details of Hicks' guilty plea

As the details of David Hicks’ guilty plea before a military commission in Guantanamo have emerged, the plea looks even more dubious than it did when Anna Koransky blogged about it here, earlier this week. (And see Grace O'Malley's new post below.) Apparently, Hicks didn’t even offer an unqualified guilty plea. Instead, the Washington Post reports that Hicks offered an Alford plea, admitting only that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him, but not, crucially, admitting guilt. Over at Balkinization, David Glazier suggests (among other critiques) that this alone should undermine the plea because a guilty plea without full admission of guilt is not permissible under military law. As Kevin Heller has argued at Opinio Juris and as the Post reports in some detail, other aspects of the plea deal should raise eyebrows as well. Among the more striking details are Hicks’ change of story on whether he was abused by US forces and the “novel protections” the deal offers to the US, such as his agreement not to sue anyone in the US government (which will surely prove superfluous since he was never "illegally treated" in the first place, right?).

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