Five Muslims convicted in Australia terror plot

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 15, 2010 08:25

 
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An Australian court Monday sentenced five Muslim extremists to prison terms of 23 to 28 years after convicting them of preparing for terror attacks on unspecified targets by stockpiling explosive chemicals and firearms.

Justice Anthony Whealy of the New South Wales Supreme Court said he had little hope that the men, aged 25 to 44, could be rehabilitated, saying they were motivated by "intolerant, inflexible religious conviction" and had shown contempt for the Australian government, its leaders and laws.

The men were found guilty last October on charges linked to preparing for a terrorist act between July 2004 and November 2005. The men — Australian-born or naturalized citizens with Muslim immigrant backgrounds — had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

They had stockpiled explosive chemicals and firearms, though it was not established where they would target.

During the trial, a former associate of the suspects testified that the group had considered bombing an Australian Rules football final in Melbourne in 2005 that was attended by almost 92,000 people. Prosecutors said they had also discussed killing former Prime Minister John Howard.

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