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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 04:33 GMT
US releases details against Hicks
By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

David Hicks (file photo)
David Hicks has been at Guantanamo Bay for five years
The US military has released details of its case against David Hicks, an Australian held without trial at Guantanamo Bay for five years.

Mr Hicks is facing charges of providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder.

He was captured in Afghanistan, where he allegedly fought alongside the ruling Taleban against US-led forces.

His continued imprisonment is causing problems for the Australian government, which has faced calls for his release.

Political reasons?

The document released by the Pentagon on Friday sets out its case against Mr Hicks in detail.

It alleges that he took part in an al-Qaeda training course in 2001, and spent weeks learning about covert photography, the use of dead drops and wearing disguises.

Prisoner in cell at Guantanamo Bay
Many Australians are angry that Hicks is still at Guantanamo
It also claims that Mr Hicks used the alias Abu Muslim Australia as he conducted surveillance of the American and British embassies in Kabul.

During that time, it is alleged he drew diagrams of the buildings, windows and doors, and documented the people coming and going.

The Pentagon has claimed before that he travelled to Kandahar airport, and was issued with an AK47 rifle to defend it against American-led forces.

Now US officials say that he also managed to arm himself with 300 rounds of ammunition and three grenades.

The timing of these new details may well have a political dimension, because US Vice-President Dick Cheney arrives in Australia next week.

The case of David Hicks is hanging over the visit.

The Howard government is under pressure, even from its own back benches, to secure a date for the Australian inmate's trial.

Former Liberal Party Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has also accused the government of betraying the basic legal rights of its citizens, and claims that Mr Hicks will never get a fair trial.


SEE ALSO
US has 'strong case' against Hicks
11 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Hicks' US treatment 'abominable'
02 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
'Australian Taleban' trial delay
15 Nov 05 |  Americas
The 'Australian Taleban'
13 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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