Australia: 9 face trial for massive terror plot

Nine men who allegedly stockpiled bomb-making chemicals and vowed to avenge perceived injustices against Muslims were ordered to stand trial for Australia's largest terrorist conspiracy, court officials said Tuesday. Magistrate Michael Price, after hearing evidence gathered in a months-long police operation, ruled it was strong enough to be heard by a Supreme Court jury and referred the case to the higher court on June 1, said an official at Penrith Local Court, who declined to be named in line with policy. The nine men are each charged with conspiring between June 2004 and November 2005 to carry out a terrorist act. None of the suspects, who face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted, entered a plea, but their lawyers have said they maintain they are innocent. Prosecutors said at the pretrial hearing that the nine suspects bought unrestricted chemicals that can be used in making explosives, and downloaded from the Internet instructions that included how to mix the cocktail of agents used to make the bombs used in the deadly 2005 London subway attacks.