Military Lawyer's Career Hurt due to Gitmo Work

A Marine Corps lawyer who represented Australian David Hicks in a Guantanamo Bay case that resulted in a favorable plea deal has apparently suffered career repercussions as a result – and he is not the only one.

In the aftermath of his aggressive defense of Hicks, Major Michael Mori has been offered assignments in far-flung Chile and Guam, and he has been refused permission to attend a training program that would have qualified him to be a military judge, reports the Age, an Australian newspaper that is part of the same Fairfax media group as the Sydney Morning Herald.

Concerns had previously been raised that defending Gitmo detainees could hurt military lawyers’ careers, according to the AP. And, according to the Age, that may indeed have occurred: Colonel Dwight Sullivan, chief counsel for Gitmo detainees, says four of six military defense lawyers considered for promotion have been passed over, although he declined to speculate on whether this was a deliberate effort to sideline lawyers who aggressively defended detainees.

Hicks, 31, a Muslim convert described today by the West Australian as a “confessed terrorism supporter,” pleaded guilty in March to a charge of providing material support for terrorism in exchange for a nine-month jail sentence. His five-year detention in an American military prison at Guantanamo Bay before he finally went before a U.S. military commission tribunal was controversial, but the sentence itself is generally viewed as fair, said Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Friday in a Southern Cross Broadcasting interview.

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