21 Jan. 2007

Hicks case may be empty:
THE two embassies that David Hicks was accused of staking out as part of his al-Qaeda training were abandoned at the time.

Mr Hicks's charge sheet, made public in 2004, included allegations that "on or about August 2001" he conducted surveillance on the British and US embassies in the Afghan capital, Kabul...

The US Military Commission chief prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis, mentioned the alleged embassy surveillance in interviews last week in which he said Mr Hicks was a fully fledged al-Qaeda operative. "He conducted surveillance on the US embassy and other embassies," he said.

Inquiries by the Herald show the British and US embassies were abandoned in 1989 as Afghanistan plunged into civil war in the wake of the 10-year Soviet occupation.

The British embassy was reopened in December 2001, four months after Mr Hicks's alleged surveillance and a month after his capture. The US embassy, which had been maintained by Afghan employees since 1989, was reopened in January 2002.