Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 7 News List

`Australian Taliban' denies US charges

CLOSED DOORS Taliban foot soldier David Hicks plead not guilty to war crimes charges as the military tribunal he faces was criticized for being biased and secretive


"We have never hidden from David that he is facing an unfair system resuscitated from the 1940s and his life and freedom is in jeopardy," Major Michael Mori, a military lawyer for the Australian, added.

The lawyers also hope Australia will be able to take advantage of any future deal Britain makes with the US government about the return of British detainees.

Four Britons are still held at Guantanamo and the British government has reportedly refused to accept military commissions for its nationals. On Tuesday, Osama bin Laden's personal driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a 34-year-old Yemeni, was formally charged in the first hearing of the new military commissions.

A Yemeni and a Sudanese are due to face similar pre-trial hearings on yesterday and today.

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