“Prior to these convictions, only three Australians have been convicted of terrorism offences.” More on this story. “Australian Muslims convicted on terrorism charge (2nd Roundup),” by DPA for Asia Pacific News, September 15:
Sydney – An Australian cleric and five of his followers Monday were found guilty of forming a terrorist cell and face possible life terms when sentence is passed.
Four of the group of 12 Melbourne Muslims were declared innocent and two have yet to receive a verdict on the terrorism-related charges against them.
Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 48, told his followers it was ‘permissible to kill women, children and the aged‘ and is alleged to have plotted with them to bomb the 100,000 spectators expected at the 2005 rugby cup final in Melbourne.
During the six-month trial, the jury heard 50 witnesses and listened to excerpts from 482 secretly recorded conversations among men who declared they wanted to ‘do something’ to honour their religion.
Police said the group watched videos of beheadings in Iraq and read books glorifying the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Centre in New York.
Prior to these convictions, only three Australians have been convicted of terrorism offences.
Jack Roche, a British-born Muslim convert, has been released after serving 4 years of a 9-year sentence for plotting the truck-bombing of the Israeli embassy in Canberra. He was picked up in the raids that followed the bombings in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2002 in which 88 Australians were among the 202 people killed.
Pakistan-born architect Khalid Lodhi was jailed for a minimum of 15 years in 2006 for plotting a terrorist attack. Last week a Sydney court convicted former airport baggage-handler Belal Khazaal of publishing a terrorism how-to manual on the internet.