t1_hicks_ap.jpgGUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) — Australian prisoner David Hicks on Monday pleaded guilty before a U.S. military tribunal to a charge of providing material support to terrorists.

The 31-year-old former kangaroo skinner was accused of fighting for al Qaeda in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and has been held at Guantanamo for more than five years. He announced his decision at a hearing in the U.S. war crimes tribunal at the base.

Hicks answered “Yes, sir,” when the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, asked if that was in fact his plea.

Hicks had faced life imprisonment if convicted. The judge ordered the prosecutors and defense lawyers to draw up a plea agreement by 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Tuesday, which was expected to spell out what sentence he would serve.

Under a long-standing diplomatic agreement, Hicks will serve his sentence in Australia.

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