Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Security controls on former Guantanamo inmate to be lifted


Australian police said yesterday that they were ready to lift strict security restrictions on convicted Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks after he broke his silence to appeal for greater freedom.

Hicks, 33, who spent more than five years in the US prison in Cuba and was the first “enemy combatant” to be convicted by a US military commission, has been subject to tight controls since he was freed from jail 11 months ago.

Yesterday he spoke out for the first time since his release, issuing a plea to be allowed to live freely after a strict control order that restricts what he can do or say expires next month.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me. The only thing I do know is that until the control order is lifted, I will not be able to get on with my life,” Hicks said in the video plea organized by a lobby group.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), which won the one-year control order against Hicks when he was released from jail after being returned home under a plea bargain, said they would not seek to extend the restrictions.

“Following extensive consultation with a number of agencies, the AFP has decided it will not be seeking a further control order in respect of Mr Hicks,” the AFP said in a statement that came after Hicks’ appeal was made public.

Under the order, Hicks must report to police twice a week and remain at home at night. He is not allowed to leave the country and barred from using landline or mobile phones, the Internet or e-mail without the AFP’s permission.

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