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25 August 2004

The latest from Guantánamo - hearings to begin

Guantánamo hearings begin, from the Guardian.

Osama bin Laden's Yemeni driver will today become the first Guantánamo Bay prisoner to stand before a US military commission to face war crimes charges, in proceedings that have been denounced as unfair by human rights groups and American military lawyers.

David Hicks, a former Australian kangaroo hunter turned Islamic jihadist, will face war crimes and attempted murder charges tomorrow, followed by Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, a Yemeni poet, and a Sudanese accountant, Ibrahim al-Qosi. . . Mr Bahlul and Mr Qosi are alleged to have acted as bodyguards for Bin Laden.

More from Guantánamo: Guantánamo Britons are to be visited by lawyers in the next few days.
The US granted the visits after the supreme court ruled the base in occupied Cuba was covered by American law, despite the Bush administration claiming it was not. Reports suggest that Moazzam Begg and Feroz Abbasi have been suffering mental health problems while imprisoned.
Both have been held in isolation for up to a year, with Mr Begg having been detained in a windowless room. He is also believed to now be denied human contact after he started talking to his guards, and is monitored by a remote controlled camera.
Two US lawyers representing the Britons are scheduled to arrive in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, next Monday.
As well as Mr Begg and Mr Abbasi, they are expected to see Martin Mubanga, and two Londoners whom the Foreign Office refuses to represent.
They are Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi national from Kingston-upon-Thames where he has lived for 20 years, who has been interrogated more than 50 times according to testimony from released British detainees.
A lawyer will also see Jamil el-Banna, a Jordanian refugee, who is alleged to have been sexually humiliated while detained and to also be suffering mental health problems, according to three released British detainees.

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