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Australian terror supporter faces restriction after his release

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Former Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks remains a terror threat, a magistrate said Friday as he ordered restrictions on his movements after he is released from an Australian prison next week.

Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner who was convicted of supporting al-Qaida at a U.S. military tribunal after being captured in 2001 in Afghanistan, will be subject to a midnight-to-dawn curfew and have to report to police three times a week under the order.

"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," Federal Magistrate Warren Donald said.

Hicks is due to be released on Dec. 29 from the Yatala high security prison in the southern city of Adelaide, after completing a seven-year prison sentence struck after a plea deal with U.S. authorities that resulted in him being returned home from Guantanamo.

The father of two was captured in December 2001 by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, where he had been fighting with the Taliban, and spent more than five years at Guantanamo Bay before being tried.

A U.S. military commission at Guantanamo sentenced Hicks, a Muslim convert, in March to seven years in prison, with all but nine months being suspended after he pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism.

Under a plea bargain, Hicks was returned to Australia to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Hicks has admitted he attended al-Qaida training camps in Pakistan, and police prosecutors who sought the control order said evidence showed Hicks undertook "substantial training" in basic arms and combat, guerrilla warfare and advanced marksmanship from al-Qaida and the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

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

Hicks' lawyers said he did not object to being the subject of a control order, but that he believed some of the conditions were too onerous.

Hicks' father, Terry, has said his son wants to forget about his recent past and get on with his life by enrolling in university.
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