Curbs on ‘Australian Taliban’

Tight restrictions on ex-Guantanamo detainee when he leaves jail on December 29.

Hicks has admitted attending al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan [AP]
Hicks has admitted attending al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan [AP]
“I’m satisfied that coupled with the defendant’s views expressed and his capability and training … that the defendant is a risk of taking part in a terrorist act,” Magistrate Warren Donald said in his ruling.
Hicks, a father of two, was captured in December 2001 by the US-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, where he had been fighting with the Taliban, and spent more than five years without trial at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay.
A US military commission sentenced Hicks, a Muslim convert, in March to seven years in prison but suspended all but nine months of his sentenced after the former kangaroo skinner pleaded guilty to supporting al-Qaeda in a plea bargain deal.
The deal allowed him to return to Australia to serve out his sentence.
Although not convicted of any crime in Australia, federal police sought an order in the Federal Magistrate’s Court imposing restrictions on his movement and other measures under anti-terrorism laws.
‘Osama lovely’
Hicks has admitted attending al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, and prosecutors said evidence showed Hicks undertook “substantial training” in basic arms and combat, guerrilla warfare and advanced marksmanship from al-Qaeda and the Pakistani armed group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

The father of two spent more than five years
without trial at the Guantanamo prison [AP]

On Thursday, police lawyer Andrew Berger quoted letters sent in 2001 by Hicks to his family in which he said he had met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden 20 times and described him as a “lovely brother”.

Hicks is due to be freed on December 29 from the Yatala high security prison in the southern city of Adelaide.
Hicks’s lawyers and family said he did not object to being the subject of a control order, but that he believed the thrice weekly reporting condition was severe.
“David’s intention all along upon release is to be a model citizen,” David McLeod, Hicks’s lawyer, told reporters outside the court.
“He simply wants to get on with his life … he will honour and abide by the decision.”
Hicks’s father, Terry, said the conditions would be tough.
“I think the three times a week to report to a police station is a little bit rough because, you know, if you’ve got a work situation or anything like that, it makes it fairly hard,” he said.
“But he’ll get around that somehow and we’ll help him through it.” Hicks’s control order is the second of its kind in Australia.
The first was imposed last year on Melbourne man Jack Thomas, who the authorities alleged trained in al-Qaeda terror camps in Afghanistan before September 11, 2001, and who is facing a retrial on terror-related charges.
Source: News Agencies


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