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Aussie Taliban offered prostitutes for information: ex-chaplain

AFP/File Photo: Terry Hicks, father of Australian war on terror detainee, David Hicks, speaks to reporters August...
SYDNEY (AFP) - US soldiers offered prostitutes in exchange for information from an Australian Muslim held at Guantanamo Bay since being arrested in Afghanistan four years ago, a former US army chaplain said.

David Hicks, a convert to Islam from the Australian city of Adelaide, has been in US custody since he was captured alongside Taliban forces in Afghanistan in late 2001, and has spent most of that time at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

US Army Captain James Yee, one of the few people given regular access to Hicks, told Australian public television that the Australian told him of being taunted by offers of prostitutes in exchange for information.

"On occasion he would talk about, for example, in his interrogations that he was offered a prostitute in return for giving some type of information," Yee told ABC television.

"But he felt that that was just an insult to him -- it was an insult to being a Muslim, a practising Muslim."

Yee, who was himself arrested on suspicion of espionage involving Guantanamo Bay detainees and was held in solitary confinement for 76 days, said that Hicks had been studying Islamic law since being placed in solitary confinement months ago pending his trial.

"He was just really asking that I request to make more visits to him because I was really, essentially, the only one he had contact with," he said.

"The command only allowed me to go once a week," he said. "They weren't open cells, they were completely closed, he had no access to sunlight."

Yee received an honorable discharge from the service after US authorities eventually dismissed the charges against him in March 2004.

Hicks, whose trial is due to start on November 18, allegedly fought alongside the Taliban against US-led forces who invaded after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

The 30-year-old Australian is facing a series of terrorism-related charges, including attempted murder and aiding the enemy after allegedly training at Al-Qaeda-linked military camps. He has denied the accusations.

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