CANBERRA, Australia – An Australian and three other terror suspects in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay (search) will face a closed-door pretrial hearing in late August, Prime Minister John Howard (search) said Friday.
David Hicks (search) and three others will appear sometime after Aug. 22 for a hearing that will set procedures for the five-member military commissions that will try the suspects, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's spokesman Chris Kenny confirmed.
Hicks, who allegedly fought alongside the Taliban (search) in Afghanistan, is charged with war crimes conspiracy, aiding the enemy, and attempted murder for being an "illegal combatant."
Howard said Australian representatives would attend the hearing, which he expects to be closed.
The Americans have promised that the military tribunal system will respect the basic principles of Australia's criminal justice system, Howard said.
Hicks' lawyers have said a fair trial is impossible under the military justice system. Attorney Stephen Kenny said Hicks would plead innocent if given the opportunity in August.
The government has not confirmed the identities of the other three terror suspects who face a hearing in August.
Only a few of the 600 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. enclave on the Caribbean island of Cuba, have been formally charged with crimes.
Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni, faces conspiracy to attack civilians, to murder and to commit terrorism.
Also charged with terrorism related offenses are Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul of Yemen and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan. None are accused of killing Americans.
Some 15 people at Guantanamo Bay have been identified as potential defendants for military tribunals.