Fri, Jan 28, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Australian was tortured in Guantanamo: lawyer

DPA , Sydney

An Australian terrorism suspect soon to be repatriated by US authorities after three years at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba was the victim of atrocities fit for a concentration camp, his lawyer claimed in reports yesterday.

Stephen Hopper, in comments reported yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald, alleged that Mamdouh Habib was tied to the ground while a naked prostitute menstruated on him.

Hopper also claimed that interrogators told the Egyptian-born Sydney resident that they had killed his wife and three children.

"The Americans used prostitutes as tools in their interrogations," Hopper said.

Habib was arrested in October 2001 in Pakistan and accused of aiding Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Attorney General Philip Ruddock said earlier this month that Habib would be released by US authorities and would not be charged under Australian law on his return.

He would escape prosecution because anti-terrorism legislation did not come into force until 2002 and could not be applied retrospectively.

"Mr. Habib remains of interest in a security context because of his former associations and activities," Ruddock said.

The release of Habib would leave one Australian at Guantanamo Bay.

David Hicks, 29, is one of only four detainees to be charged and to have faced court. He is on trial before a US military tribunal for terrorism offenses. He will not get a death sentence and would serve his jail term in Australia if found guilty.

Hicks was captured in November 2001 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, fighting with the Taliban and has been inside the Guantanamo Bay prison since then.

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