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US Charges Australian Held at Guantanamo Prison - 2004-06-10


The Pentagon has announced that an Australian man captured by the U.S. military in Afghanistan in 2001 will be tried before a military tribunal on charges of attempted murder and providing aid to al-Qaida. David Hicks has been detained at a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for nearly three years. The charges against David Hicks include allegations he attended al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan and chose fight with Osama bin-Laden and the allied Taleban following the 9/11 attacks against the United States.

His military appointed lawyer Michael Mori calls his client innocent and objects to this case being tried before a military tribunal, which is usually closed, rather than in civilian court.

"We're going to fight these charges, these allegations that the government has laid against David Hicks to the fullest extent we're allowed to," he said. "Unfortunately, these allegations will never be tested within an established and fair justice system."

The Pentagon maintains the trial, whose date has not yet been set, will be based on the presumption of innocence. Under arrangements already negotiated between both countries, David Hicks will be spared the death penalty if convicted and returned to Australia to serve any sentence.

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