Guantanamo man may keep book profit


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The Australian government has dropped its court battle to seize profits from a book written by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, saying that his guilty plea before a US military commission could not be relied upon.

David Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner and outback cowboy, was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent more than five years at the prison camp in Cuba. A plea deal in 2007 allowed him to return to Australia to serve a nine-month prison sentence for providing material support to al-Qa'ida.

Last year, the government launched court action against Hicks, arguing he should not be allowed to profit from his autobiography, Guantanamo: My Journey, because he is a convicted criminal. He is believed to have made A$10,000 (£6,600) from sales of the book.

Yesterday, prosecutor Lionel Robberds told New South Wales State Supreme Court, the government had decided to drop the case. The prosecutor's office said there wasn't enough evidence to continue. Hicks's lawyers had argued their client could not be sued under Australia's criminal profit law as the conditions at Guantanamo amounted to duress.

In his book, Hicks wrote that he had military training in Afghanistan at a camp that Osama bin Laden visited, but he denied it was terrorist training.