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Hicks sedated before being told of new charges: military lawyer

[JURIST] The US military lawyer for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archives] said Monday that his client was sedated for 24 hours last month before being told about new charges against him. Maj. Michael Mori [Wikipedia profile] said Hicks was given a drug to ease his complaints of stomach pain, but while the medicine took effect, a US official began speaking to him about additional charges that Hicks did not have the ability to comprehend. A US Defense Department official said the allegations are being investigated, but reiterated that Hicks has received humane treatment since he was taken into custody in 2001. AFP has more.

Meanwhile, another of Hicks' lawyers said that Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website], Attorney-General Philip Ruddock [official profile] and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer [official profile] could all be called as witnesses in Hicks' civil lawsuit [JURIST report] against the Australian government. The Federal Court of Australia will hold a hearing [JURIST report] on May 17 on Hicks' claim that the government breached its duty to protect Hicks, as a citizen, by failing to call for a fair trial. Hicks was charged last month with providing material support to terrorists [JURIST report]. Defense lawyer David McLeod said he is hopeful that the Australian lawsuit will result in Hicks being brought back to Australia before his military commission trial begins. Australia's ABC News has more.

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