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The Australian Federal Police will determine whether Guantanamo Bay military prison detainee David Hicks will be subject to a control order when released from prison later this year, members of the Australian government said Sunday. On Friday a US military commission recommended sentencing Hicks to seven years in prison; all but nine months of that were effectively suspended by a military judge under the terms of a plea agreement kept secret from the panel of military officers during its deliberations. Hicks is expected to be returned to Australia to serve his prison term within two months, after having already spent more than five years in US custody since being captured in Afghanistan.

The controversial "control orders" authorized under Australia's 2005 anti-terror legislation allow "the overt close monitoring of terrorist suspects who pose a risk to the community." The first such order was issued in August 2006 and is still undergoing an appellate court challenge. Similar orders have been called unconstitutional in the European Union. Hicks' lawyer said Sunday that he plans to return to school and will not be a threat, but Australian officials have called him "dangerous" and seek closer surveillance.


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