SYDNEY (Reuters) – A Pakistan-born Australian architect was jailed for 20 years on Wednesday for planning bomb attacks in Sydney, a court official said.
Pakistan-born Faheem Khalid Lodhi had planned to detonate home-made bombs in Australia’s largest city as part of a “holy war,” the New South Wales Supreme Court was told during his trial.
Prosecutors told the court police had found what amounted to a terrorism manual when they raided his home in October 2003.
Supreme Court Judge Anthony Whealy on Wednesday sentenced 36-year-old Lodhi to a maximum 20 years jail, with a minimum of 15 years to be served, a court official told Reuters.
While it is good that Lodhi didn’t get less than 15 years, he will still only be between 51 and 56 when he gets out, and equally, if not more dangerous, to society than he is now. In the meantime, his contact with other prisoners should be restricted as to eliminate any opportunity for da’wa, or proselytizing.
A Supreme Court jury found Lodhi guilty in June on three charges — collecting maps of Sydney’s electricity grid, acting in preparation for a terrorist act by gathering information about bomb-making and possessing documents with information about how to manufacture poisons.
Lodhi was acquitted on a fourth charge of downloading aerial photographs of defense facilities from the Internet.
Lodhi told the court during his trial that he was not a violent religious fanatic and his lawyers said he had the defense photographs because he had worked as an architect at the sites.
Lodhi, who emigrated to Australia in 1996, was charged under tough new anti-terrorism laws introduced soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Australia is a staunch U.S. ally with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan but has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil.