Last Update: Tuesday, August 24, 2004. 1:49pm (AEST)
David Hicks ... hearings set to begin (File photo).

David Hicks ... hearings set to begin (File photo). (ABC TV)

Ruddock hints US may release Hicks photo

Australia's Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, has signalled the United States may approve the release of photographs showing the current condition of Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks.

Extraordinary security surrounds Hicks's first appearance at a military commission at Guantanamo Bay in two days' time.

Strict conditions are being imposed on news coverage of the hearing and it is understood the media will not be allowed to take any photographs of Hicks.

But Mr Ruddock says the US may consider releasing a photo of Hicks.

"There are valid reasons for the restrictions," he said.

"I think the United States will find ways of ensuring that particular issues that from time to time are dealt with in ways that won't compromise the broader national interest of the United States."

The strict rules for journalists covering Hicks's hearing ban reporters from using phone lines to file stories during breaks in the proceedings.

They also cannot walk 100 metres from their accommodation to a nearby cafeteria to get food or drink without a military escort, nor can they take a souvenir photo of their barracks.

The restrictions also ban journalists from conducting a taped interview with anybody on their side of the bay, a 20-minute ferry ride from the detention camps and courtroom.

Further, if reporters leave the court proceedings to go to the toilet, they are then barred from the courtroom for the rest of the day.