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US releases new details on terror charges against Hicks

[JURIST] Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archive] gathered intelligence on the US embassy in Kabul and "participated in an advanced al Qaeda course on information collection and surveillance" before being captured in 2001 while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to new details released Friday by US officials. The DOD memorandum [PDF text] notifying Hicks of the swearing of charges against him also alleges that Hicks was trained in covert photography, disguises, and dead drops [Wikipedia backgounder]. Hicks faces charges [JURIST report] of providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, though the charges have not yet received formal approval. Australia's ABC News has more.

Hicks defense lawyer David McLeod criticized the new allegations as vague [ABC Australia report], saying the DOD memo does not present a clearer picture of the accusations against Hicks. Meanwhile, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser [official profile] said Friday Hicks would not receive a fair trial [ABC Australia report]. During a speech [transcript] at the University of Melbourne, Fraser said the US will not allow a fair trial because, after detaining Hicks in "inhumane and degrading" conditions for five years, a "verdict of innocence would be extraordinarily embarrassing" to the US and Australian governments.

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