David Matthew Hicks (born 7 August 1975) is an Australian who undertook terrorist training in al Qaeda-linked camps and served with the ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001. He was then detained by the United States Government in Guantanamo Bay until 2007 when he became the first to be tried and convicted under the U.S. Military Commissions Act of 2006. Hicks's treatment, the evidence tendered against him, his trial outcome, and the newly created legal system under which he was prosecuted, drew widespread criticism and political controversy.
In 1999, Hicks converted to Islam and took the name Muhammed Dawood. He was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 by the Afghan Northern Alliance and sold for a $1,000 bounty to the U.S. military. He was transported to Guantanamo Bay where he was designated an enemy combatant, during which time he alleges he was tortured. Charges were first filed against Hicks in 2004 under a military commission system newly created by Presidential Order. Those proceedings failed in 2006 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that the military commission system was unconstitutional. The military commission system was re-established by an Act of the United States Congress. Revised charges were filed against Hicks in February 2007 before a new commission under the new Act. The following month, in accordance with a pre-trial agreement struck with convening authority Judge Susan J. Crawford, Hicks pleaded guilty to a single newly codified charge of "providing material support for terrorism". Hicks's legal team attributed his acceptance of the plea bargain to his "desperation for release from Guantanamo".
In April 2007, Hicks was returned to Australia to serve the remaining nine months of a suspended seven-year sentence. The nine month period precluded media contact and drew criticism for delaying his release until after the 2007 Australian election. Former Pentagon chief prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis later alleged political interference in the case, by the Bush administration in the U.S. and the Howard government in Australia, and said that Hicks should not have been prosecuted.