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Australia to investigate Gitmo detainee abuse allegations

[JURIST] A day after lawyers for Australian Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks [BBC profile; advocacy website; JURIST news archive], said they have evidence that Hicks suffered sexual abuse and torture [JURIST report] while in US custody, the Australian government has said it will investigate Hicks' accusations. Hicks' father and a former detainee have said [ABC Australia transcript] that he was taken from a US warship and blindfolded, beaten, spat upon, assaulted and sexually abused in two 10-hour beatings by Americans on the way to Cuba. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer [official profile] said that the Australian Embassy [official website] in Washington will follow up the credibility of these claims after American teams have yet to find any evidence of abuse or torture [JURIST report]. Hicks has been in US military custody at Guantanamo Bay for three-and-a-half years after being captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. He is accused of fighting for al Qaeda and has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding the enemy and conspiring to commit war crimes. Hicks' military commission trial is scheduled to start [JURIST report] on November 18. Reuters has more.

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