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Guantanamo conditions 'like a Nazi camp'

AAP | January 31, 2007

Accused terrorist David Hicks' US lawyer has described conditions at Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held for five years, as "like a Nazi concentration camp".

The 31-year-old father of two met his lawyers inside the newly-created Camp Six at the US military prison in Cuba.

The Adelaide-born Muslim convert showed signs of mental deterioration, his Australian-based lawyer David McLeod said after the meeting.

"He shows all the signs of someone who has been kept in isolation for a very long time," Mr McLeod said.

"He's not in very good shape, the conditions are pretty ordinary."

Hicks has been detained by the US military without trial since he was captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001. He was sent to Guantanamo Bay the following month.

"He continues to be locked up 22 hours a day," Mr McLeod said.

"He has seen the sun three times since he has been at Camp Six in early December.

"He has no privacy whatsoever in Camp Six - his toilet paper is rationed, he hasn't been able to comb his hair since going there because he's not provided with a comb or brush.

"The guards can see into his cell 24 hours a day.

"I won't go into his condition in more detail than that.

"We have just had some time with him and we are seeing him again tomorrow.

"But suffice to say, he's not in good shape."

A US lawyer, Sabin Willett, has visited Camp Six, where Hicks was moved last month, and filed an emergency motion in the US Court of Appeals criticising the conditions.

In an affidavit to the court, Mr Willett described the conditions as like a "Nazi concentration camp - a place where, when they take you in, you never come out".

In his affidavit, Mr Willett said Camp Six detainees are held in solid metal cells with no natural light or air and detailed other alleged human rights violations.

"We put those things very quickly to David and he confirmed each and every allegation of the nature of Camp Six," Mr McLeod said.

"Those observations in those articles are totally consistent with what David is putting up with."

US prosecutors are expected to within weeks lay fresh charges against Hicks, who is accused of training with al-Qaeda.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy before a US military commission in August 2004.

But the charges were dropped last year when the US Supreme Court ruled the military commissions designed to prosecute Hicks and other Guantanamo detainees were unlawful.

The US announced its new rules for the commissions on January 18.

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