Australia terror plotters sentenced

Five men given jail terms from 23 to 28 years for planning attack on an unknown target.

    The five men arrived and departed the Sydney courthouse under heavy security [EPA]

    The court also heard that there was overwhelming evidence they wanted to create "at the very least, serious damage to property" and posed a "serious risk" to the public when they were arrested in 2005.

    Australia's former conservative government was closely aligned to the policies of George Bush, the then US president, and the country was one of the first to commit troops to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The five took Australia's involvement in those conflicts as "acts of aggression against the wider Muslim community", prosecutor Richard Maidment told the New South Wales Supreme Court.

    'Violent jihad'

    They spent months collecting chemicals, firearms and ammunition, and police raids on their homes found "large quantities of literature which supported indiscriminate killing, mass murder and martyrdom in pursuit of violent jihad".

    Maidment also said that the men had pictures and videos showing the hijacked aircraft smashing into the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, as well as beheadings and deaths on the battlefield.

    The court was shown more than 3,000 exhibits and heard from about 300 witnesses during the 10-month trial.

    Lawyers for the five had argued there were innocent explanations for much of the material and labelled the case "propagandist".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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