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Nine months prison term for Australian in Guantanamo

world Updated: Mar 31, 2007 11:37 IST

IANS
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Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, who pleaded guilty to supporting the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, received a reduced sentence of nine months late Friday, United States military officials said.

Hicks will serve the sentence in Australia under a diplomatic agreement, according to information on a Pentagon website.

Officials earlier indicated that Hicks would return to Australia within 60 days of his sentencing.

The military commission members had recommended a sentence of seven years, under a pre-trial agreement signed by Hicks on Monday, when he entered an initial plea of guilty to charges that he had provided material support to terrorists.

But the agreement also provided that any portion of the sentence beyond nine months would be suspended, according to the information on the official website.

Hicks, the first to be tried of some 400 prisoners still being held at the base since the prison opened on Cuba more than five years ago, has already served more than five years awaiting charges to be brought.

Hicks, a convert to Islam, has admitted that he attended several Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in 2001, and that he spent time with Al-Qaeda fighters in Kandahar and Konduz after the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US.