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Australia AG calls for Hicks update after reports of harsh Gitmo treatment

[JURIST] Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock [official profile] said Tuesday that he has requested an assessment of the condition of Australian Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] after Hicks' lawyer described Hicks in an interview [transcript; recorded audio] on ABC Australia as being chained to the floor of an interview room and removed from access to sunlight. Ruddock said that he's received previous reports that Hicks is allowed outdoors for exercise and compare conditions to that of a US maximum security jail.

Ruddock said last week that Hicks could face reduced charges when he goes to trial [JURIST report] and in early January noted that his US counterpart, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, assured him that Hicks would be charged [JURIST report] soon after the new military commission rules were published. US President Bush promised that a trial will be held [JURIST report], but offered no timetable. The Australian government has been under increasing pressure [JURIST report] to call for Hicks' release. Hicks was detained in Afghanistan while allegedly fighting for the Taliban and US prosecutors claim that he trained at up to four terrorist camps. Australia's ABC News has more.

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