15 Feb 2010

Five jailed for part in Australian terror plot

8:13 pm on 15 February 2010

Five men convicted of terrorism-related offences in Australia have been sentenced for minimum terms ranging from 17 to 21 years.

In October last year, a jury found the Sydney men guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist act, or acts, including possessing bomb-making instructions and explosives chemicals.

Prosecutors said the men, devout Muslims aged from 25 to 44, were plotting violent jihadist attacks in protest at Australia's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the sentencing hearing at the Supreme Court in Parramatta on Monday, Justice Anthony Whealy said the men regarded their imprisonment as a badge of honour.

In a judgment lasting almost four hours, the judge referred to the chemicals, weapons and ammunition the men stockpiled and said the community had to be protected from horiffic consequences.

Justice Whealy said the men still held their extremist views and gave the men non-parole periods ranging from 17 to 21 years.

The men, aged between 25 and 44, have been in custody since they and four others were arrested in south-west Sydney in 2005. Outside court, the lawyer for one of the men said he will appeal.

The other four men arrested in 2005 pleaded guilty and have already been sentenced for their role in the conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack.