PERTH, Australia – Convicted terrorist Jack Roche, whose offer to provide information about Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders was ignored by Australian and U.S. authorities four years ago, wants to volunteer his help again.
From Hakea prison in suburban Perth, where he is serving nine years for plotting to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, Roche has offered to testify in the trials of top terrorism suspects in Europe and Asia, including Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, a suspected extremist.
In exchange, he’s angling for an early release from prison and placement in a witness-protection program. Instead, the Australian government has gone to court to try to add a decade to his sentence.
Roche, whose sentence has already been trimmed from 10 years on the condition that he answer investigators’ questions, has given police detailed statements intended for authorities in Indonesia, Germany and France. The European countries are interested in his knowledge of Christian Ganczarski, an alleged conspirator in the 2002 bombing of a Tunisian synagogue that killed 21 people, mostly German tourists, who is held in France.
The standoff over his sentence means that Roche may never take the witness stand. He has refused to sign the statements he gave police as long as the threat of a longer term hangs over him.