Lawyer: Pictures of Hanged Saddam Shown to Guantanamo Bay Inmates

Australian terror suspect David Hicks was shown a photo of Saddam Hussein hanging from a rope after his execution, his outraged lawyers say.

Photos of the former Iraqi leader's trial were also shown to Hicks and other inmates held at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Articles were also allegedly displayed to Guantanamo inmates detailing the execution of people in Iraq, including the decapitation of one person.

“Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death and mentally torture an already abused detainee population,” Hicks's lead American defence lawyer Joshua Dratel said Thursday.

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Showing the photos and articles breached the Geneva Conventions designed to protect prisoners of war, Dratel added.

Hicks's legal team went public with the allegations after visiting the 31-year-old Adelaide father of two at Guantanamo Bay over the past two days.

The photos and articles were available for prisoners at the prison to look at, the lawyers said.

Non-English words accompanying a poster containing the photos of Saddam's trial, according to Hicks's lawyers, read: “Because Saddam chose not to co-operate and not tell the truth, because he thought by lying he would get released, for that reason he was executed.”

David McLeod, Hicks's Adelaide-based lawyer, said another detainee translated the words to Hicks.

“It was also revealed that military personnel at the prison provided detainees, including David, with an article about Saddam's execution and an accompanying photo of Saddam hanging from a rope,” a statement from the legal team read.

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“The detainees have also been provided with articles relating to other people who have been executed recently in Iraq, including one in which the victim was decapitated in the course of being hung.”

Saddam's half brother Barzan Ibrahim was decapitated when hanged in Baghdad about two weeks ago.

The poster containing the photographic display from Saddam's trial was estimated to be about 15cm by 7.5cm and was on a notice board on a wall facing the exercise cells, the lawyers said.

The display allegedly went up about two weeks ago and was still on display at the time his lawyers were interviewing Hicks earlier today, the lawyers wrote.

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“This display is another vivid example of the coercive and dehumanising environment that exists at GTMO (Guantanamo),” Dratel and Hicks's Australian lawyer, Michael Griffin, wrote in a joint statement.

“Unfortunately it demonstrates that the lessons of Abu Ghraib and the humane treatment of detainees have not been learned.

“For David, who is at the mercy of his jailers for more than five years now, it is a constant reminder of the oppressive and brutalising system that detains him and seeks to try him.”

Hicks has been in U.S. body since late 2001 when he was captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. expects to charge him this month.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he was unaware of the claims about the Saddam images.

“I have never heard that,” Downer told reporters in Adelaide.

Labor's opposition legal affairs spokesman Kelvin Thomson said the latest reports of abuse showed yet again why Guantanamo Bay should be shut down.

“Such photos would not be displayed in the remand section of an Australian jail, nor would they be shown to people facing charges in American jails,” Thomson said in a statement.

“The reason is simple — the authorities would be concerned that confessions or other evidence obtained in such circumstances would be thrown out as having been obtained through coercion.”