In the first conviction of a Guantánamo detainee before a military commission, an Australian who was trained by Al Qaeda pleaded guilty here Monday to providing material support to a terrorist organization.
The guilty plea by the detainee, David Hicks, was the first under a new military commission law passed by Congress in the fall after the Supreme Court struck down the Bush administration’s first system for trying inmates at Guantánamo.
The guilty plea is sure to be seen by administration supporters as an affirmation of its efforts to detain and try terrorism suspects here, although the government’s detention policies still face significant legal and political challenges.
The plea by Mr. Hicks came after an extraordinary day in a pristine red, white and blue courtroom here. Earlier the military judge had surprised the courtroom with unexpected rulings that two of Mr. Hicks’s three lawyers would not be permitted to participate in the proceedings, leaving only Maj. Michael D. Mori of the Marine Corps at the defense table.
After several acrimonious sessions in which Major Mori claimed that the judge, Colonel Ralph H. Kohlmann of the Marines, was biased, the judge insisted that he was impartial and the hearings came to a close.