Source Pravda.Ru

Hicks pleading not guilty

The Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks is to face trial in January next year.

Dressed in a grey suit, instead of his regular orange prison uniform, Hicks fronted a military commission at the Cuban military base today, pleading not guilty to all charges against him relating to his involvement with al Qaeda.

The international media and official observers from legal organizations and human rights groups are in Guantanamo to scrutinize the proceedings. Many have already said they believe the process is fundamentally unjust and unfair, and this week at Guantanamo, there've been a lot of questions about why the Australian Government agreed to this process when it is so contentious, according to the ABC News.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says a U.S. investigation has rejected allegations that Australian terror suspect David Hicks was abused while in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Cuba.

He said the findings are consistent with reports filed by Australian officials who have regularly visited Mr. Hicks and fellow Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr. Hicks' father has alleged his son was abused by U.S troops in Afghanistan, and again after he was moved to Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S. Defense Department investigated the treatment of the two Australian men, following abuse allegations by three Britons released from Guantanamo earlier this year. They said Mr. Hicks had been interrogated more frequently than other detainees at Guantanamo, and was denied medical treatment for a hernia.

A separate investigation into the claims is being conducted by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, says Voice of America.

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