SYDNEY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Australian former Guantanamo Bay detainee said on Thursday after a US military appeals court threw out his conviction on a terrorism charge that he wants his government to pay for treatment of ailments resulting from torture.
David Hicks, who spent five years in the US detention camp in Cuba, said he had not yet decided whether to seek broader compensation in Australia.
“I do think that someone should be responsible for my medical expenses,” Hicks told reporters in Sydney.
“I was subjected to five-and-a-half years of physical and psychological torture that I will now live with always.”
Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing material support to terrorism but on Wednesday the US Court of Military Commissions Review threw out his conviction because such activity did not become a crime until years after he was captured in Afghanistan.
Hicks was among the first group of prisoners sent to Guantanamo when the detention camp in Cuba opened on January 11, 2002. He had acknowledged he had trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and met the group’s leader Osama bin Laden.
His lawyers have said Hicks was innocent and that he made the guilty plea under duress after enduring years of beatings, sexual assaults and sleep deprivation.