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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 12:46 GMT
Terror suspect becomes UK citizen
David Hicks
David Hicks has been held at Guantanamo Bay for three years
An Australian held as a terror suspect at Guantanamo Bay has won a legal battle in the UK High Court to be registered as a British citizen.

David Hicks, often referred to as the "Australian Taleban", can now call on UK officials to lobby for his release.

Mr Hicks, 30, whose mother was born in Britain, was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 allegedly fighting US-led forces.

The Muslim convert from Adelaide, South Australia, faces charges of conspiracy to commit war crimes.

US authorities have also charged him with attempted murder and aiding the enemy.

Citizenship oath

A judge in London ruled that Home Secretary Charles Clarke has "no power in law" to deprive Mr Hicks of his citizenship "and so he must be registered".

Mr Hicks' lawyers will now press ministers to make arrangements for him to take the required citizenship oath and pledge.

They will then urge the Home Office to seek his release from the detention camp in Cuba in the same way it has won freedom for all nine other British citizens held there.

Father's hope

After the ruling, Mr Hicks' father Terry said the Australian government had not "lifted a finger" to help him.

He said: "Hopefully the British government may look at it as David's another British citizen held at Guantanamo Bay.

"They do have a ruling with the Americans that none of their citizens will face military commissions, so they may ask for David to be released into their custody."

Mr Justice Collins gave the home secretary permission to appeal against his judgment, but refused to suspend his decision pending appeal.

Mr Hicks' war crimes trial was due to start in November, but a federal judge in the US suspended it while the US Supreme Court looked into the legality of military tribunals created to try war crimes suspects.

The former abattoir worker has been held at Guantanamo base for more than three years.

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