Hicks’ hearing set for August

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that a ‘directions hearing’ setting out the parameters and arrangements for a full trial will commence in the week beginning August 23.

David Hicks will be among three other prisoners held at the US base in Cuba who have been selected as the first of Guantanamo’s 600 detainees to appear before a US military commission.

The other three defendants are Yemenis Ali Al Bahlul and Salim Hamdan, and Sudan national Ibrahim Al Qosi.

It is understood that Mr Hicks will be present in the room for the hearing which will involve the presiding officer of the commission, but not the full panel, according to a report by the ABC.

Stephen Kenny, Mr Hicks’ Australian lawyer said the hearing would be “in the form of an arraignment” and would “give the opportunity for (the defence) to make any requests for further documents or further information that we require.”

Mr Kenny told the ABC that fresh witnesses statements had only been received last week and that as the case involves witnesses spread across the world, “we wouldn’t be prepared to go soon after (August 23).”

Terry Hicks, who has not seen his son David in the more than 2 years that he has been detained by US authorities, said he welcomed the opportunity for his son to have his day in court.

He said he was bracing himself for the way his son might look when he fronts the commission next month.

“It’s a concern, but over two-and-a-half years, I know how David has been treated. I’m not naïve,” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks has been charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy after he was captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.

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