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'Aussie Taliban' Faces Tough Restrictions After Release From Jail


An Australian court has imposed tough restrictions on former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks when he is released from jail next week. A magistrate has approved a request from the police for the restrictions and says he is satisfied that Hicks poses a threat. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports.

The police had applied for restrictions to be placed on David Hicks when he is freed, saying he remains a threat to society.

A magistrate agreed Friday and approved the control order on the former kangaroo hunter.

Hicks admitted supporting terrorism at a U.S. military court at the Guantanamo Bay navy base in Cuba earlier this year.

He had been detained there five years.

Under a deal with prosecutors, he was jailed for seven years, with all but nine months suspended. He has served the sentence at Adelaide's Yatala prison and will be freed at the end of the month.

Hicks, known in the Australian news media as the "Aussie Taliban", will be under a midnight to dawn curfew and will have to report to police three times a week.

He also is banned from leaving Australia and faces restrictions on owning a mobile phone.

His lawyer, David McLeod, believes Hicks will accept the conditions.

"I'll be going to see David now to tell him what's happened," he said. "And I suspect he'll simply say 'All right, let's just get on with it. I have no intention of doing anything else except being a law-abiding citizen so these restrictions are such that don't bother me.'"

It is only the second control order issued under Australia's anti-terrorism laws.

Police told the court that Hicks wrote to his family in 2001 that he had met al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden 20 times and described him as a "lovely brother."

American troops captured Hicks in Afghanistan in 2001, where he was fighting for the Taliban government.

He was the first inmate to be sentenced at a military tribunal on Guantanamo.

In a separate case, a court on Friday ruled that an Indian doctor who was deported from Australia after he was wrongly charged over failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow should be allowed to return. Terrorism charges against Mohamed Haneef were dropped earlier this year after Australia's chief prosecutor said that a mistake had been made.

The government canceled Haneef's visa and expelled him, but he petitioned the court to have his visa reinstated.