5 Muslims jailed for plotting attack in Australia
Five Muslims, including one Bangladeshi origin Australian, who plotted an attack using guns and explosives to protest against Australia's part in the "war on terror" were jailed for up to 28 years yesterday, after the country's longest extremism trial.
The men, who cannot be named, were convicted in October of gathering firearms, chemicals and bomb-making instructions, along with a mass of Islamist propaganda, for the attack on an unknown target.
Justice Anthony Whealy, who handed down the sentences at a purpose-built courthouse in Sydney's west, said the plans were "often lacking in cleverness" but were well advanced when the five were arrested in 2005.
"There is no reason to doubt that, absent the intervention of the authorities, the plan might well have come to fruition in early 2006 or thereabouts," Whealy told the hearing of New South Wales Supreme Court.
The men from Sydney, who are Australian citizens of Lebanese, Libyan and Bangladeshi descent, were handed maximum terms of 23 to 28 years, with the shortest non-parole period being 17 years and three months.
The five, aged 25 to 44, showed little emotion and some of them smiled at each other when Whealy left court.
"That's a very big sentence -- not even murderers get sentenced that much," the sister of one of the men told reporters.