- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 1, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Attorneys for an Australian facing war-crimes charges before a U.S. military commission in Cuba want a federal judge in Washington to block the trial.

David Hicks’ attorneys said yesterday that they are challenging the commissions in federal court, as part of a lawsuit over his detention. They have also filed objections at Guantanamo Bay, where the trial is scheduled to be held in January before military officers.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly must agree before the attorneys can file new arguments against the trials.

“We believe that the military commissions as currently constituted cannot provide David a full, fair and impartial hearing,” lawyer Joshua L. Dratel said.

Hicks, accused of fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, pleaded not guilty last week. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit war crimes, aiding the enemy and attempted murder.

He is among the first four men chosen to face military commissions, the first such proceedings since German saboteurs were tried secretly during World War II.

Civil rights groups have complained that commission evidence rules are stacked in favor of the government and that panel members have little experience with complicated legal issues.

In the latest move, Hicks’ attorneys are seeking to stop the trial and win his release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

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