Australia's Attorney General warned on Monday he was prepared to change federal law to ensure that al-Qaida supporter David Hicks is barred from profiting from his story when he returns from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.
Hicks, a Taliban fighter captured in Afghanistan in December 2001, will soon be sent to a prison in his hometown of Adelaide in southern Australia.
There he'll serve a nine-month sentence after pleading guilty in March to aiding al-Qaida, according to a plea deal agreed on at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Attorney General Philip Ruddock maintains that federal law prohibiting criminals profiting from crime through media deals will stop the 31-year-old former kangaroo skinner from selling his story about meeting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and his allegations of being tortured in U.S. custody.
However, Monday newspapers quoted Melbourne Civil Liberties lawyer Robert Richter and Ron McCallum, Dean of Law at the University of Sydney, as saying the law might not apply to Hicks because his offense was only recognized by U.S. military commissions.
Ruddock responded that if there is such a loophole in the law, the government would ensure it was quickly closed.
"If that law proved for some technical reason to be deficient, I would seek to have it amended and I would do that quickly," Ruddock told Macquarie Radio. "Mr. Hicks cannot make any money from it at all."