Source : - The Advertiser,5936,18791529%5E911,00.html

By Phillip Coorey

April 20, 2006

DAVID Hicks has been thrown back into solitary confinement in what his lawyer says is an attempt by his captors to break his will.

Major Michael Mori said the move was aimed at pressuring Hicks to end his resistance to being tried by the controversial U.S. military commission process.

"It's not a disciplinary thing," he said. "There's no logical reason other than to break him."

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock became aware of the claims yesterday and his spokeswoman said an "urgent cable" had been sent to Washington seeking confirmation and an explanation.

Major Mori, who is in Adelaide with Hicks's U.S. civilian lawyer, Joshua Dratel, said he only learned of the development two days ago.

Hicks, 30, has been transferred to an enclosed cell, is allowed out for just 30 minutes at night every 24 hours, and has no access to sunlight.

The terrorist suspect is fighting his impending trial by military commission through the U.S. civilian courts.

His trial has been put on hold pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision due in June. But it is likely the delay could last until 2007.

Hicks is also waiting for the outcome of a British Government appeal against a UK court decision to grant him British citizenship.

If successful, Hicks hopes the British Government would secure his release from Guantanamo Bay, as it did other British inmates.

Captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 and sent to Guantanamo Bay, Hicks spent 16 months during 2003 and 2004 in solitary confinement. During this period, he spent eight months with no access to sunlight.

Major Mori said the first stint in solitary confinement reduced Hicks to "a broken man".

Hicks's father, Terry, shared Major Mori's suspicions and called the tactic disgusting.

"Maybe the Americans are under a bit of pressure with what the defence team is doing with the process, so they're taking it out on David," Mr Hicks said.

The Pentagon could not be contacted yesterday.

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