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Australia AG insists Hicks military trial will not hear evidence coerced by torture

[JURIST] The US military commission [JURIST news archive] expected to try Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] will not allow evidence coerced through torture, Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock [official website] told ABC News on Tuesday. Ruddock added that "sleep deprivation is ordinarily not regarded as torture," however, if a commission were to deem it as such, any evidence retrieved as a result of it will not be allowed. Ruddock aroused the ire [Age report] of human rights groups [AAP report], former POWs [Telegraph report] and anti-torture campaigners on Sunday when he said in another TV interview that sleep deprivation was merely "coercive" [Australian report] and that he didn't regard it as torture. Hicks has claimed [Amnesty profile] in an affidavit that in US custody he had been subjected to sleep deprivation "as a matter of policy."

Last week, Ruddock said that the Hicks trial probably will not commence this year [JURIST report] given that legislation setting up a revised US military commissions structure has only just been passed. In August, the US assured Australia that Hicks will not face the death penalty [JURIST report] in any new trial. Earlier that month, Ruddock stated that he would press for Hick's return [JURIST report] if the US process against him is not restarted by November. ABC News has more.

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