[JURIST] Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks [JURIST news archives] has refused to meet with Australian consular officials in order to avoid punishment by US guards, his lawyer has told an Australian Senate panel. The lawyer said that Hicks believes he has been punished after previously complaining about his treatment at the US prison camp, but the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs [official website] said it did not know of any refusal by Hicks to meet with Australian officials. Hicks allegedly refused to meet with the Australian Consul-General to the US in September, but Australian officials said Hicks did not offer a reason for his refusal.
In October, Australia's justice minister denounced Hicks' five-year detention [JURIST report] without trial in Australia's boldest official statement in months concerning the Guantanamo prisoner. Hicks was taken to Guantanamo Bay after he was captured in Afghanistan, where he allegedly had been fighting with the Taliban. Hicks faces trial under the new Military Commissions Act [text, PDF; JURIST report]. His defense lawyers recently said they plan to challenge the act as unconstitutional [JURIST report]. Australia's ABC News has more.