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More Gitmo Abuse Alleged In Court

Prisoners at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed, terrorized by attack dogs and forced to take drugs, an Australian detainee said in an affidavit released Thursday.

David Hicks, 29, was one of the first prisoners to arrive at the camp in eastern Cuba in January of 2002. He is one of only four terror suspects who have been formally charged among 550 detainees there accused of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or al Qaeda terror network.

"At one point, a group of detainees, including myself, were subjected to being randomly hit over an eight-hour session while handcuffed and blindfolded," Hicks said in an affidavit sealed in August and released by his attorneys Thursday. "I have been struck with hands, fists, and other objects, including rifle butts. I have also been kicked."

The release comes the same week as the publication of several documents that show FBI agents sent to Guantanamo Bay warned the government of abuse and mistreatment as early as the start of the detention mission. One letter, written by a senior Justice Department official, suggested the Pentagon did not act on the FBI complaints.

The memos document abuses including a female interrogator grabbing a detainee's genitals and bending back his thumbs, most of a prisoner's head being covered with duct tape because he would not stop quoting from the Qu'ran and an attack dog used to intimidate a detainee who later showed "extreme psychological trauma."

In the memo released by the ACLU, an unidentified FBI tells his superior that two generals cited Rumsfeld as giving them their "marching orders" on how to conduct harsh interrogations at Guantanamo Bay.

The government maintains prisoners are treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and U.S. policy condemns and prohibits torture.

"When we have credible allegations of detainee abuse we take those very seriously and investigate them," said Maj. Michael Shavers, a Pentagon spokesman who said some of the allegations made by Hicks and others would be investigated.

But also, this court evidence comes after a memo to Rumsfeld was made public this week, showing U.S. special operations forces accused of abusing prisoners in Iraq warned defense intelligence personnel not to talk about the alleged mistreatment they saw. This pertained both to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse and abuse alleged at Guantanamo Bay.

"[The government] put up this stone wall of denial and what this shows was not only that they were wrong but they were disingenuous," said Joshua Dratel, Hicks' civilian defense attorney. "They were getting these reports all along."

Hicks is scheduled be tried in a military commission in March.