Source Pravda.Ru

David Hicks also faces a charge of attempted murder

Only a sanitised glimpse of Australian David Hicks' life as a Taliban fighter or what it was like for Salim Hamdan to be Osama bin Laden's personal driver and bodyguard will be given when their military trials open on Tuesday.

Hicks, a 29-year-old former Kangaroo hunter who converted to Islam, Hamdan, and two other defendants due to be formally charged this week, have been detained in virtual secrecy since they were captured in Afghanistan in December 2001.

They have been in Camp Delta, the maximum security prison at the Guantanamo Bay US Navy Base, since January 2002, with hardly any access to lawyers until the charges were first drawn up this year.

Classified information on their activities will be kept to private hearings of the military commissions hearing the charges, informs Turkish Press.

According to ABC News, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday it was weighing whether to send an observer to the commission hearings, the first such proceedings since World War II.

The Geneva-based group has been the only independent organization to have access to the 585 prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base accused of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network.

"We're taking the matter very seriously, but no final decision has been taken as of yet," said Florian Westphal, a spokesman for the ICRC, which in October issued a rare public rebuke of what it described as the "worrying" effect of the prolonged detentions.

US military authorities have insisted the trials will be open and fair. But critics say they do not meet US or international law because the detainees and evidence against them have been shrouded in secrecy.

American lawyers for Hamdan and others among the 585 Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees held at Guantanamo have already started legal action in US courts that is expected to end at the Supreme Court.

Each defendant faces charges of conspiracy to commit war crimes, while Hicks, a 29-year-old who went to Afghanistan after converting to Islam, also faces a charge of attempted murder.

US authorities have promised that none of the four will face the death penalty. But they could be jailed for life and there is no guarantee that others tried on the same charges in the future will not be sentenced to death, reports The Age. Australia.

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