CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to plead guilty to a terrorism offense said in a television interview broadcast Tuesday that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States were a "disgusting act."
David Hicks, an ex-kangaroo skinner and Outback cowboy, was jailed in the U.S. prison camp in Cuba for more than five years before a plea deal in 2007 allowed him to return home to Australia to serve a nine-month prison sentence for providing material support to al-Qaida.
The Muslim convert received military training in Afghanistan at camps often visited by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the months before the terror network attacked New York and Washington with hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001.
Hicks, 35, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. he was across the Pakistan border in Quetta when he saw the news on TV.
"I think it was a disgusting act," Hicks said in a rare interview.
"So many people lost their life on that day ... it was horrible," he added.
Hicks returned to Afghanistan where he was captured by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.
He denies supporting al-Qaida and says he was feeling suicidal when he agreed to plead guilty to get out of Guantanamo Bay.
Hicks told ABC that he wanted the Australian government to recognize that the U.S. military commissions were illegal and that his conviction was void. A government official was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
An Australian judge this month froze proceeds from Hicks' memoir as the government fights to seize profits from the book.
The government has launched court action against Hicks, arguing that he should not be allowed to profit from his autobiography, "Guantanamo: My Journey," because he is a convicted criminal.